By Maria Gregoriou
RESIDENTS of Moutallou village in Paphos and MPs expressed relief on Friday after the interior ministry said it had decided to reconsider the location of a new ‘green zone’ that was due to be constructed in Moutallou and another 37 locations.
Members of the Moutallou community had been particularly vocal in their protests as the proposed zone was a mere 50 metres away from a high school, 200 metres from the Tombs of the Kings road – a popular tourist destination. The Tomb of the Kings – a protected UNESCO site – is also close by. It is also surrounded by houses.
Green zones are an alternative to illegal dumping and constitute designated areas where the public can take often bulky rubbish, such as refrigerators, furniture or broken toilets, which then get collected by local authorities.
But Moutallou residents said such a site would have a negative impact on their lives and was nothing more than a landfill.
The authorities have now agreed to consult with residents about the location of the green zones, but they have to be completed by 2015 so Cyprus does not lose access to EU social funds.
The decision was announced at Friday’s meeting of the House environment committee which was attended by MPs, interior ministry officials and officials of the environment department.
Speaking after the meeting, AKEL MP Andreas Fakontis said it was clear that the environment department had not held proper consultations affected residents, and as a result problems were raised in all districts.
“The most serious problem occurred in Moutallo where the site selected for the green zone was a few metres from the residential areas, but whatever the measures to be taken, visual pollution is unavoidable,” Fakontis added.
The environment committee asked Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou to take on a significant role in the process of finding new sites for the green zones.
DIKO MP Antonis Antoniou said that, once again, “sloppy decision making about construction projects have been made” and asked the ministry to “inform the residents in other areas about the location of green zones, so that the Moutallo incident is not repeated.”
EDEK MP Phidias Sarikas said the industrial area in Paphos has been suggested as a potential area for the green zone.