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20 July, 2024
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Cyprus faces crisis with 120 illegal waste sites igniting fires

Fire service tackles 45 blazes at illegal dumpsites in Nicosia


In Cyprus, there are approximately 120 illegal waste sites, with the Fire Service in the Nicosia district responding to 45 incidents in the past two years alone, as disclosed by the Parliamentary Environment Committee on Wednesday. MPs have urged relevant authorities to take decisive action.

Charalambos Theopemptou, committee chairman and MP for ecologists-citizens' cooperation, highlighted concerning developments, citing a recent incident in Paphos where a garbage site saw recurring fires, culminating in a major blaze despite initial extinguishment attempts.

"The existence of such situations in Cyprus is unacceptable and underscores systemic failures in waste management and regulatory oversight," Theopemptou remarked. He noted reports suggesting the actual number of illegal sites could be much higher than reported.

Regarding environmental solutions, Theopemptou proposed creating "Green Spots" within urban areas to manage specific materials, drawing on successful practices from abroad.

Emphasizing the need for proactive measures, including designated fire zones, controlled grazing, and enhanced community readiness, Theopemptou stressed the urgency of revising waste management practices to mitigate fire risks.

Savia Orphanidou, MP for DISY, echoed concerns over environmental contamination and heightened fire risks linked to illegal dumpsites, citing an official acknowledgment by the fire service of a precursor fire days before the significant Paphos blaze.

Nikos Kettiros of AKEL expressed frustration over bureaucratic inertia despite previous assurances from government departments, noting widespread inaction in addressing over 100 illegal dumpsites, some of which continue to pose fire hazards.

Chrysanthos Savvides from DIKO likened the recurrent fires to a modern-day Hydra, urging a paradigm shift in response to evolving climatic conditions. He criticized decades of insufficient environmental protection measures and called for enhanced preventive efforts.

All MPs emphasized the need for immediate action, including site clean-ups and enhanced monitoring through technologies like surveillance cameras, underscoring the urgency of safeguarding vulnerable rural areas and supporting fire-affected communities.

[Information sourced from CNA]

Cyprus  |  waste  |  environment

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