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Peyia sea caves protest goes to parliament

Some of the developments at the sea caves that have caused an outcry

A protest against building development near the sea caves in Peyia and other protected areas will be held at the House of Representatives in Nicosia on Wednesday morning at 11am.

Environmentalists are encouraging the public to take a stand against ongoing projects in Cyprus and in particular in Peyia, which they say are destroying areas of natural beauty, before it’s too late.

A demonstration will also take place at the sea caves at the same time.

The call to protest is being supported by numerous NGOs – including Save Akamas-Save Cyprus – environmentalists and nature lovers.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Save Akamas said it was imperative that the public attend the protest to show that the continuing degradation and destruction of ‘our common, natural and cultural heritage’ will not be tolerated.

“We expect that the provisions of the EU Directives and the Cypriot Legislation on nature conservation will be respected without any rebates, deviations, and loopholes,” the statement said.

“The protest is being organised against the approval of several projects in the area of the sea caves in Peyia in particular, the Akamas peninsula in general, as well as other Natura 2000 sites in Cyprus, which have not been properly and adequately assessed by the environmental department,” Klitos Papastylianou, from the Initiative for the Protection of the Natural Coastline, told the Cyprus Mail.

He said the conservation status of strictly protected and endangered species is at stake.

“If we lose the sea caves, there is no other critical habitat for monk seals in Cyprus,” he warned.

The submerged and partially submerged sea caves is the birthing habitat of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus), which is listed as the most “critically endangered” marine mammal species in the Mediterranean by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Save Akamas said that the ‘rape’ of nature in Cyprus continues and that although the area in Peyia is a protected area Natura 2000 these projects have been given the go ahead.

“Is anyone going to be punished for this disgrace?”

Peyia councillor Linda Leblanc said that unless people protest now, everyone will pay the price in the future, adding that EU laws must be implemented in Cyprus.

“This (development of the area) will be used as a model for the future for the Akamas. That is why it’s not too late to protest and we must take action now.”

She noted that whilst developers may try to sell such projects as ‘sustainable development’ this is simply not true.

“No strategic comprehensive environmental studies are being carried out by these companies, which are basically all the same people. It’s not enough to protest on Facebook, people must be galvanised to protect the beautiful nature and species of the island before lost.”

Save the Akamas added that conservation and management orders should be issued for all Natura 2000 sites and should include binding measures and essential terms for the conservation and management of all such sites in Cyprus.

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