Disposal of used tyres at landfills and in the countryside has come a long way since February 2011 when a comprehensive system was put in place however, almost four years later, the Cyprus countryside is still full of used tyres.
Although used tyres are not considered a hazardous waste material, dumping them in landfills and the countryside island-wide, as well as burning them, can have serious effects on the environment and public health.
This is the main problem local authorities and state officials are faced with as they try to extend and expedite their campaign to raise awareness.
In areas such as Frenaros and Paralimni in the Famagusta district, as well as Kotsiatis village outside Nicosia and Vati in Limassol, burning used tyres is a frequent phenomenon.
These areas are – legally defunct – landfills, in which people continue to dump almost everything.
These areas should have been shut by now, following the implementation for the EU regulation on landfills.
Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou told the Cyprus News Agency that used tyres have not yet been completely removed for the countryside in Cyprus, despite the implementation of the relevant legislation in 2011.
According to Panayiotou, there is a specific location at Ypsonas village, in Limassol, where the problem is very common, despite efforts by local authorities to clean the area.
Used tyres can also be found in Latouros quarry near Dhali, outside Nicosia.
Panayiotou said a lot of money is needed for the used tyres to be transferred to a special unit, but the issue remains unresolved.
The Commissioner expressed concern over the fact that the legislation has been passed but not fully implemented so far.
She said people need to understand the risks that dumping tyres in the open fields pose to the environment and their health, and urged the authorities to be more decisive when it comes to the implementation of the law.
According to Panayiotou, tyres can be recycled and reused as fuel in other industries, therefore people need to realize that these materials are not useless and can be reused.
The Agriculture ministry’s Environment Services official Meropi Samara told CNA that tyre importers were supposed to comply with the law six months after its implementation by setting up specific units for the collection and reuse of these tyres.
One such unit, RTM Tyres Recycling Ltd, was set up and collects used tyres from tyre shops and garages.
Samara explained that, by law, to clear their cargo at the Ports Authority, tyre importers need to present a certification of environmental responsibility.
She added that the drivers should leave their used tyres behind at the car workshops and not dump them in landfills or burn them.