The gradual closure of Kotsiatis landfill will start this year and is expected to be completed within the next 2-3 years, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Nikos Kouyialis told CNA.
In an interview, Kouyialis spoke about solid household waste management and referred to a possible future cooperation with Egypt on these issues, with the involvement of the private sector, seeking in addition EU funds. At the same time, the minister referred to a possible cooperation with Israel and Jordan on environmental issues as part of the wider cooperation between Cyprus and the countries of the region.
Kouyialis said that Cyprus and Egypt are considering the possibility of cooperation on solid household waste management, pointing out that there are great needs in collecting, sorting, recycling and sanitary land-filling of waste in Egypt. He also said that Cypriot companies could go to Egypt and do business in that field.
“We want to look at how we can work together so that Cypriot companies can go to Egypt to help local companies in the management of household waste in a rational way, based on our experiences from the EU”, he said, explaining that Cypriot companies could sell equipment and expertise.
The minister added that cooperation in this field could be combined with cooperation at government level, by applying for funds from Euro-Mediterranean programmes on the management of solid household waste.
Kouyialis also said there were thoughts for cooperation with other countries, such as Israel and Jordan.
He said bilateral cooperation with Egypt, Israel and Jordan on the issue of management of household solid waste could be beneficial for all sides, as it includes exchange of know-how and technology, both at private and ministerial level.
Asked when there might be tangible results as regards the cooperation with Egypt, the minister said that the priority was the cooperation with Egypt in agriculture and aqua-culture, however he added that they have also investigated possible cooperation in the management of solid household waste, in water management and in the area of renewable energy.
Invited to say if 2016 could yield some results, Kouyialis noted that they are making efforts to have some tangible results to report before the high – level Tripartite meeting between Cyprus-Greece and Egypt to be held in Cairo next July.
As regards the management of household waste in Cyprus, Kouyialis said that the country would start implementing its strategy and will soon begin investing in Paphos and Nicosia.
The gradual closure of Kotsiatis landfill begins this year, he said. “This is for us one of the biggest challenges at the moment.”
He said they would gradually reduce the quantities that flow into Kotsiatis until its final closure in 2-3 years.