By Evie Andreou
BEACHES are a national treasure for Cyprus and a source of sustainable development, head of the Green Party George Perdikis said on Saturday.
Perdikis joined the youth branch of his party in a cleanup of Lara beach and sea bed, an important nesting ground for turtles, as part of ‘Clean up the Med’ a Europe wide campaign to safeguard the Mediterranean environment.
Lara beach, Perdikis said, is a nesting area of the sea turtles and it is imperative that it remains clean so that turtles can come on shore and lay their eggs. Both the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) which breed at Lara beach are threatened by extinction in the Mediterranean and have been protected species since 1971.
Despite that the beach was in a wretched condition, he said, some turtles managed to lay their eggs on shore, while others due to the filth, had their eggs in the water. This means the eggs will not hatch.
“It is our responsibility to protect the rare sea turtle species that come to our shores to lay their eggs,” Perdikis said.
He added that infrastructure should be created for the development of beaches to make them appealing to visitors.
As regards to the greater area of Akamas, where the beach is located, he said that there is great delay in designating it as national park, which is a political act and would provide many job posts to locals, but it is also a way for the area’s development.
He said that the area is not protected, and its addition into the Natura 2000 wildlife preservation network is not enough.
The trash, the illegal buildings, the uncontrolled entry of thousands of cars and quad bikes pollute Akamas, he said.
Earlier in the week, the Greens slammed authorities for doing nothing about the sorry state of affairs at Lara beach, which was covered in litter left behind by campers and visitors. The beach is also used for beach parties, which is deemed as a great put off to nesting female turtles that stay clear from noise, movement and light.
Inia community, under whose jurisdiction Lara beach falls, cannot afford the cleanup without state support, its leader Yiangos Tsirikos had said.
He added that he sends a truck twice a week to collect the rubbish from the beach’s garbage cans, which costs the community €10,000 a year and said that there is not enough money to clean the whole beach.