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Rubbish management costs rocket after landfill closure

Nicosia municipalities and communities said on Tuesday that their overall costs for the management of rubbish have gone up almost nine-fold after the Kotsiatis landfill closed at the end of last month and are calling for help from the government.

The annual cost of rubbish management has skyrocketed from €759,000 to €6.7m since the closure of the Kotsiatis landfill, the Nicosia district’s local authorities said at a press conference.

Municipalities and local authorities said they now have to also find ways to manage garden trimmings and other rubbish as the Koshi waste treatment unit, where rubbish is now taken, only receives domestic waste.

The trimmings and other non-domestic waste was supposed to go to eight green spots which have not opened yet.

Strovolos Mayor Andreas Papacharalambous, who is also the head of the council for waste management spaces, said that even though they support the closure of Kotsiatis for environmental reasons, the government ought to have provided solutions to the foreseeable problems.

The rise in rates of private management units for bulky items and non-domestic waste has also led to charges for the leasing of skips to a steep €160 from the usual €60.

This, Papacharalambous said, would have as a “negative consequence the reduction of their use, and as a result, the garbage will end up in fields and open-air spaces”.

The local authorities called on the agriculture minister to table to cabinet their proposal for subsidies so they can tackle the serious problems faced by the closure of Kotsiatis.

Papacharalambous said that rubbish collection fees have increased but that local authorities cannot raise them further due to the ceiling placed by parliament.

He called on the government to respond “to the justified demand” of the local authorities.

The illegal landfills at Kotsiatis and Vati closed down at the end of February as part of the government’s broader environmental policy to reduce the uncontrolled disposal of waste in landfills. This was an obligation of Cyprus in the implementation of the European directives for management of waste. Cyprus was faced with fines over the delay to shut down the landfills, ordered by the EU in 2013.

The Kotsiatis landfill was supposed to close in 2009.

After a plan to build a separate waste-management plant in Nicosia was scrapped, it was decided to transfer rubbish from Kotsiatis to the Koshi plant in Larnaca. Procedures for this were delayed following bribery scandals and ensuing trials concerning Helector, the company running Koshi and Paphos sanitary landfills.

The issue was even further delayed following constant rejections by the Central Committee on Changes and Claims (KEAA) of deals agreed between the government and Helector on the management of the Nicosia district’s rubbish.

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