How Athens is dealing with a new heat wave


In recent days, temperatures broke records in a number of locations around Europe as a severe and unusually early heat wave swept over the old continent. 

To fight what is seen as a direct consequence of global warming, European cities have been forced to come up with innovative ways of fighting with the heat. Last year, the Greek capital Athens appointed the Europe’’s first ‘’Chief Heat Officer”.

At the time, Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, who is a founding member of City Champions for Heat Action (CCHA), appointed urban climate resilience veteran Eleni Myrivili to this position.

Myrivili told Euronews that the Greek capital has been much more prepared to deal with the heat this year compared to last year. She also explained that the city has been focusing on the three main pillars of actions to tackle this issue.

In order to categorize heatwaves, Athens relies on data. This is meant to allow the city to categorize the heatwaves in three groups: high, medium, and low risk to health.

“It’s a very innovative methodology that we’ve used, it’s not just meteorological, it has within the categories the particular risk for the health of people.”

According to Myrivili, the Greek city has also outlined a number of strategies for protecting the most vulnerable groups of population during heat waves in order to fulfill the second pillar, which entails making sure people are prepared to deal with rising temperatures.

To help with heat reduction, Athens is also focused on considerable green infrastructure boosts. An initiative to use water from an old, underground Roman aqueduct to green the city is now in progress. (photo credit: freepik)