By Jean Christou
THE operation of the new bicommunal Nicosia wastewater treatment plant at Mia Milia is much more than a major technological achievement, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said on Tuesday.
“First, local leaders of the two communities have succeeded in putting the needs of the population first to solve the sewage problems of the Greater Nicosia Area,” said Fule. “I strongly commend their commitment. Faced with the alternative of going their separate ways, they have worked relentlessly for over a decade to pursue this new project for the common treatment of Nicosia’s wastewater.”
The new plant was inaugurated by Fule along with Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and the representative of the Turkish Cypriot community of Nicosia Kadri Fellahoglu and other guests including previous mayors who were involved in the long-term project.
The project – with a total budget of approximately €29 million was jointly funded by the Sewerage Board of Nicosia (70 per cent), and the European Union under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.
The Nicosia Wastewater Treatment plant began operating in 1980. In 2003, it began facing environmental problems and the decision was taken to modernise facilities. Work on the new, state-of-the-art plant began in March 2010 and it was put into trial operations in June 2013.
“I am told that this is the biggest wastewater treatment plant on the whole island, incorporating the latest technology in the field,” said Fule.
He said the new plant also benefited the environment as well as human health by protecting drinking and bathing waters from contamination. On top of that, its state of the art technology will give 10 million cubic meters of treated water per year a second life through irrigation. “This can promote economic activity to the benefit of all,” said Fule.
He said byproducts of the waste water treatment could be converted into renewable energy and fertilisers, thus substantially reducing its environmental footprint.
“This project demonstrates how joint, consensual decisions can take shape and work to the benefit of both communities,” the EU Commissioner said.
“For some of you it’s a life’s work, and this plant might not have been built if it wasn’t for your persistence. You played a crucial role and worked relentlessly for the benefit of both communities.”