By Evie Andreou
Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis is calling for the immediate reinforcement of bodies tasked with tackling noise pollution coming from bars and other establishments until the problem is regulated.
In an open letter, Yiorkadjis said that the problem of noise pollution from recreation centres, and other forms of behaviour negatively affects everyone and the inability to tackle it does not only affect the health, comfort and quality of life of affected residents. It also “creates a series of other substantive complications that need to be taken into account when legislation is being drafted and enacted or when prevention and coping policies are formulated.”
The inability of effectively dealing with noise pollution, the mayor said, could even lead to the abandonment of entire areas by residents, leading to the alteration of the character of that area.
Dealing effectively with such problems, on the one hand it is a plus for the credibility and effectiveness of authorities is judged, and on the other hand, “the feeling of security is enhanced and the quality of life of many of our fellow citizens improves.”
He added that mayors of tourist areas have repeatedly pointed out the negative effects of noise pollution on the country’s tourism, while neighbouring Mediterranean tourist destinations such as Spain, have already begun to take stringent measures.
“The notorious law of 2007, rather than positively completing the existing institutional framework and providing solutions to a problem that is increasingly intensified, it seems to have aggravated the situation due to inability for its implementation. How and why we have arrived here should be an example to avoid,” he said.
In addition, Yiorkadjis said, the long delay in hearing cases of public nuisance from noise pollution or even building irregularities, creates serious problems of unequal treatment against law-abiding business owners.
“Reasonably, a law-abiding owner who finds that someone else can break the law for three or four years with no consequences, may wonder why he should not do the same, since the financial gain would be ten times more than any fine that could be imposed on him years later,” Yiorkadjis said.
Unfortunately, he said, either because of the police being understaffed, or because of confusion over which authority is in charge of what, or because of obsolete and conflicting laws and long delays in issuing court decisions, “citizens are getting the impression that anarchy is prevalent and authorities are absent from their everyday life”.
The mayor said that he has repeatedly addressed both the police chief and the Nicosia police chief, asking them to investigate the possibility of increasing the intensity of policing and checks in the evening.
“I have recorded specific examples of such problematic behaviours and noise pollution, which have not been adequately addressed. I have also contacted the minister of justice and public order, the attorney general and the auditor-general, suggesting the establishment of a fast-track procedure for cases of neglect and urban irregularities, especially in cases of premises that operate without building permits,” he said.
“I understand that efforts are being made to modernise the relevant legislation and that there are great needs and workload in other services. I believe, however, that it is imperative to strengthen the departments which have the task of combating these irregularities, until the radical and final settlement of the problem.”
It has been proven, he said, that preventing, deterring and effectively tackling minor offences contributes to a state’s effort to create citizens with a culture of compliance with laws and respect for society as a whole.