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Cyprus

Limassol municipality to step up measures against sea pollution

The Limassol municipality is determined to stamp out sea pollution in the area which stems mainly from ships docking in the port mayor Nicos Nicolaides said.

The mayor this week held a meeting with the commissioner for the environment, officials from the municipality and other stakeholders where specific measures were decided upon.

A company has been selected to take over the handling of sewage from the ships and a procedure will be completed within days, the mayor told the Cyprus News Agency.

Within two weeks two tanks and a control system will be installed at the port for the collection of wastewater and toxic waste. The waste will then be delivered to the Limassol sewerage board.

At the meeting it was also decided to initiate a procedure for increased microbiological control of the sea by the state chemical laboratory in collaboration with the environmental service.

This year the department of merchant shipping will also begin spot checks on ships to determine if they actually treat sewage before dumping it into the sea.

Everything will be recorded so that patrols are organised, while an effort will be made to ban sea excursions of private vessels which don’t have a sewage collection system.

Finally, it was decided to set up a team of observers involving lifeguards and winter swimmers who will inform the relevant services immediately when they detect signs of marine pollution.

Nicolaides stressed there will be more meetings during the summer “because sea pollution is a major issue and we want to deal with it as efficiently as possible.”

His effort to take specific measures is long overdue. Last year, there were many complaints about pollution in the Limassol sea, and at the time there were also many meetings which didn’t lead to any concrete action.

The problems have been identified before. The auditor-general’s report from 2014 sheds some light on the reasons why nothing has so far happened to remedy the situation.

“The responsibility for supervising proper waste disposal by boats is spread across too many services, with no clear indication as to who is in charge. Regular inspections are not carried out and no one was ever punished for violating the law,” the report said.

Apart from the municipality, the fisheries department, the department of merchant shipping, the ports authority, the environment department, and the health services are all involved.

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