By Bejay Browne
THE MAYOR of Polis has hit back at media reports that the municipality is turning a blind eye to the illegal removal of sand at an area which is a protected turtle breeding ground.
Mayor of Polis Chysochous, Angelos Georgiou issued a statement noting that the municipality of Polis Chrysochous condemns the illegal and arbitrary interventions at a coastal area where sand has been illegally removed from the beach.
He also noted that although recent media reports as to the amount of sand which has been taken were wildly exaggerated, the matter was serious and has been reported to the police.
He told the Cyprus Mail: “We have informed the police and they will be investigating the matter. We don’t know at this point, who is responsible for taking the sand.”
Georgiou said that the intervention at the beach and removal of sand has taken place at two areas on the coastline, which runs between Polis and Limni area. He said that the first area has seen sand of around 80-100 cubic meters being taken. He said that this had taken place slowly over the last two months or more.
He said that a second area was showing signs that a few metres of sand was missing, but that it’s hard to estimate how much, although it’s a small amount.
“In any event, any illegal and arbitrary intervention is condemned and should be investigated by the competent authorities, and offenders prosecuted,” he said.
In the statement, he said however, that accusations which appeared in the media, connecting the unlawful interference at the coast, with the scheduled development in the region were inappropriate and suspicious, and appeared to be aimed at preventing any development in the Polis area.
“We should be clear that as a local authority we have shown great sensitivity to the environment, but do not agree with those who under the pretext of environmental protection seeking zero growth in the area of Polis.”
He said that there is no other area in Cyprus that has the same size and range of protection zones and inclusion in the network “Natura 2000”, nor is there any other region which has retained its natural environment in such good condition.
He added that the European Directive 92/43 provided that sustainability was not confined solely to environmental protection, but also must take into account the socio-economic development of the region.
“As a local authority we have showed respect and our sensitivity to environmental protection by accepting defining protection areas, we always aim for reasonable and sustainable growth that respects nature and the environment,” he said.