By Evie Andreou
Fed up with the toxic fumes they are forced to inhale daily, caused by the burning of methane residues at the disused Tersefanou waste ground, residents of the area are demanding a solution.
Due to works at the site, undertaken by a private company, garbage and soil are moved, revealing methane residues that combust when they come in contact with oxygen, Dromolaxia mayor Kypros Andronikou told the Cyprus Mail.
He said residents of his village as well as those in Tersefanou, Meneou and Kiti area affected.
“I was told by the company when I visited the site that they are dumping soil on the flames to extinguish them, as there is no other solution,” Andronikou said.
According to the community leader of Tersefanou, Nestoras Michael, the problem has been going on for years but has intensified lately, especially over the last week.
“We notified the interior ministry and the agriculture ministry’s department of environment three to four weeks ago and we were told to be patient until the methane residues on the ground are extinguished,” Michael said.
He added that on Friday evening he also filed a complaint at the police.
“Last week we also had international shooting games at the Olympic Shooting Club, which neighbours the dump and this is what the athletes had to endure; fumes and stench,” Michael said.
Former environment commissioner and lecturer at the Cyprus University of Technology Charalambos Theopemptou said that open-air fires are illegal.
“Cyprus ratified the Stockholm Convention which forbids open-air fires and it has been included in the national legislation. It is also in our report on our national strategy for better quality of air,” he said.
He added that fumes coming from burning garbage release chemicals that are dangerous to health.