By Angelos Anastasiou
The Phinikoudes beach in Larnaca was cut off during a protest on Thursday by professional non-hazardous waste lorry drivers protesting over the planned closure of the Tersefanou landfill.
Some 30 drivers from the Larnaca district disagree with the interior ministry’s plan to close the landfill and replace it with a designated area in Stavrovouni.
The protesters gathered around 7.30 am outside the Tersefanou landfill and drove around Larnaca, escorted by police, before cutting off the Phinikoudes beach for roughly 15 minutes.
On behalf of the protesters, Andreas Andreou said: “The relevant ministry wants to move waste to a former quarry in Stavrovouni, which is designated for recyclable materials. But the Tersefanou landfill is used for waste that cannot be recycled.”
He added that moving waste to Stavrovouni would increase costs, which can’t be absorbed with current price of fuel.
“A citizen wishing to dispose of waste won’t want to pay for a truck to transport them to Stavrovouni because of the high cost and will end up loading it on his own car and disposing of it anywhere instead – on side roads, in rivers, etc,” Andreou said.
Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis voiced support for the lorry drivers. “The protest highlights the fact that citizens of Larnaca and the non-occupied Famagusta area are second-class citizens,” he said.
“On the one hand we have been passed the unbearable cost of operating the Koshi waste processing plant, and on the other we are threatened with the closure of the Tersefanou site, when other areas in Cyprus are not only spared the cost of operating a waste processing plant but have working landfills,” he said.
Louroudjiatis argued that before closing Tersefanou, the agreement with the contractor to lower the operational costs at Koshi must be settled in order to relieve Larnaca and Famagusta citizens of at least some of the burden.
Asked whether he would seek to discuss the matter with the interior minister, Louroudjiatis said that several meetings had been held with the minister, and arrangements had been agreed to revise the operational cost of Koshi.
“However, there are significant delays that are costly to citizens. We have asked the minister to treat this matter as a top priority,” he said.