Cruise ships dumping their waste in the sea off Limassol significantly contribute to sea pollution, city mayor, Nicos Nicolaides, said on Friday, adding that tackling the issue remains one of his municipality’s highest priorities.
In a meeting with stakeholders, the pollution targets made for the summer of 2018 were discussed, as well as those for 2019.
Nicolaides said that dealing with sea pollution involves the successful coordination of various departments and closing ‘gaps’ in the current laws.
The mayor of Yermasoyia, the community board of Ayios Trichonas, representatives of the ministry of transport, the commissioner for the environment, the department of marine research and the marine police all took part in the meeting.
The mayor said that conditions had improved in 2018 because the relevant departments cooperated successfully and experts in marine pollution monitoring were used.
When asked by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) as to why there would be increased attention to cruise ships and yachts, Nicolaides said “we have strong suspicions that they are significant contributors to the sea pollution” and that they need more “effective supervision”.
Last May specific measures were introduced to increase the microbiological control of the sea – a job that was given to the state chemical laboratory in collaboration with the environmental service.
The department of merchant shipping began spot checks on ships to determine if they were able to treat sewage before dumping it into the sea.
Further, it was decided that a team of observers that included lifeguards and winter swimmers would inform the relevant services immediately if detected any signs of marine pollution.
In 2016, the municipality came under fire from the public, who complained about pollution in the Limassol sea.
The complaints followed a 2014 report by the auditor-general which shed some light on the reasons why pollution levels were so high.
“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.