The source of a recent foul odour wafting through local communities in west Nicosia remains a mystery, with a Green Party MP raising doubts over the official explanation given by authorities.
Last Friday, complaints started piling up in west Nicosia’s Engomi borough, with reports saying an unpleasant odour had become a nuisance for local residents but officials couldn’t identify the source.
Earlier this week, local officials in the Republic of Cyprus ruled out a number of possible ill-smelling sources, saying no sewage issues were detected in wider Nicosia. Rivers with trouble spots were also checked and ruled out in the south.
On Tuesday, officials from the Environment Department said an investigation by the United Nations confirmed that animal manure had been dumped in rural areas northwest of Nicosia in the north.
“The nuisance from odour emissions along with a temperature reversal in the lower atmosphere in the middle of last week” were provided as an explanation, with the Department saying it had reached the conclusion through cooperation with the UN and the office of the environment commissioner.
Perdikis said the recent smell could be coming from another source, pointing to the possibility of waste from a power plant that uses manure to generate electricity
But Green Party MP Giorgos Perdikis says the official explanation doesn't hold up, while pointing to illegal activities in the south that warrant further investigation.
Perdikis said it was common practice among farmers on both sides of the divided island to dump animal manure around those areas.
“This practice has been going on for years and there was no smell,” Perdikis said, adding that he expected officials from the Environment Department to prove the connection between the recent smell and animal manure.
The MP criticised state officials over granting licences to farms in the south after certain locations in rural Nicosia were found to be without permits and very close to urban areas or areas not designated for farm use.
But Perdikis also said the recent smell could be coming from another source, pointing to the possibility of waste from a power plant that uses manure to generate electricity.
They didn’t even bother to inspect a station in Kokkinotrimithia that produces electricity from manure, if it was not operating in the last few days, then it can be ruled out,” the Green MP said.
Nuisance complaints piling up since March
Environment Commissioner Klelia Vasiliou, who also spoke on state radio on Wednesday, said her office was approaching the issue from a holistic perspective, saying a number of complaints from local residents had been piling up since March.
Vasiliou confirmed that earlier this year there were complaints over misuse of biological waste in farms in Kokkinotrimithia and Mammari.
But the commissioner, who was a former deputy government spokeswoman for the current administration, said her office had only recently received adequate data regarding biological waste in farms.
“There are issues of mismanagement and a need for better know-how, including issues with the Meteorological Service Department,” and all these problems have been part of a discussion over the last three months.
Vasiliou said complaints about odour emissions have been received by her office from all over the Republic of Cyprus, adding that there was a need for change in all areas, not just west of Nicosia.
The commissioner also said her office was preparing a number of suggestions for the administration in order to address issues that arise from environmental factors in the north that also affect the south.