MUNICIPAL staff in Peyia have been caught on camera illegally burning toxic and garden waste at plots in residential areas, according to a local councillor.
Linda Leblanc said that problem stems from a general lack of understanding in Peyia about proper waste management and how to implement it.
“The situation is out of control and worse than last year. Staff are taking rubbish to plots in residential areas, they’re not just burning garden waste but also furniture, plastic, all sort of toxic stuff. People are breathing this in, it’s appalling.”
Leblanc said that two weeks ago she informed the chief engineer of Peyia municipality that she had photos of municipality staff illegally burning materials and told him that he must put a stop to it. But since then, she said she has received yet another complaint.
“Aside from the fact that it’s illegal it’s also dangerous to health and a fire hazard,” she said.
The councillor said the situation has been made worse by confusion over what rubbish is being accepted at HYTA – the landfill site in Paphos, which has been hit by a recent scandal of allegations of corruption.
However, chairman of the board responsible for HYTA, Andreas Chrysanthou told the Cyprus Mail that its “business as usual” at the site.
“HYTA is accepting MSW (municipal solid waste), as it always has done and is open as usual.” Paphos municipality will take over the operation of the site “soon”.
In Peyia, house collection of waste in the coastal areas for transport to the HYTA facility was privatised a number of years ago, and subsequently costs were slashed, said Leblanc.
“The unions are always concerned about this sort of thing, but no-one was laid off and I have to say that the private company is even better and half the cost.”
She added that the possibility of further partial privatisation is a consideration.
In addition, Peyia municipality road sweeping machine, which came with a hefty price tag, has been broken for around two years as the leadership doesn’t see cleanliness as a priority, said the councillor.
“Trying to offer proper cleaning services to Peyia isn’t a priority for them, although we have a huge amount of complaints, especially around the Coral Bay area.”
Coral Bay and lower Peyia is a popular destination with tourists, and one of the most popular areas on the island, said Leblanc, noting that it would be logical to think cleanliness would be a priority for the council and the municipality.
“There has been a big change in Paphos town, it’s being spruced up and that is what we need in Peyia, but nothing will change until after the elections.”
She reminded would be voters that municipal elections are looming in December and the only way to solve this problem, plus a host of others affecting the area, is to get more people registered to vote and bring about regime change.
“The current mayor was elected in 2005 and in last election won with only 700 votes. There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of ex-pat residents in Peyia who just haven’t bothered to register to vote.
Silence is not an effective political strategy,” she concluded.
Voter registration forms are available at both Paphos District Office and at Paphos citizen advice bureau.