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Cyprus

Monks to join residents in protest over asphalt plant

File photo: Dali residents protesting outside parliament (Christos Theodorides)

MONKS from Stavrovouni monastery are joining forces with residents of Pyrga and Kornos in mobiliaing against the planned construction of an asphalt production and recycling plant in the area.

The environmental activists will this week be setting up a big tent as their ‘headquarters’ just outside the local quarry, within which the planned asphalt plant is to be located.

Spokesmen for an action group said the tent will be manned 24 hours a day, to keep an eye on the comings and goings at the site – although it’s understood the company has yet to secure a town planning permit for the asphalt facility.

On Sunday, the bishop of Trimithounda as well as the action group are organising a large gathering at the site in a bid to raise awareness about the issue. MPs are also expected to attend.

According to daily Politis, the activists are seeking with legal means to block the building of the asphalt plant, and have hired the services of a chemical and environmental engineer.

The environmental department has green-lit the construction of the plant, arguing that it will be located within the quarry zone and thus violates no laws.

Local action groups say the plant would be situated only 2km from the Pyrga and Kornos communities and from the Stavrovouni monastery, as well as just a few metres away from the Natura 2000 protected area.

The groups also claim that the two communities of Pyrga and Kornos show increased incidence of cancer.

They say air pollution will only worsen with the proposed plant, while the consequences of the thousands of tonnes of waste that are dumped in the quarry zone, which is an area of richly-stocked aquifers, are still unclear.

Elsewhere the municipality of Lefkara has publicly opposed the mooted creation of another quarry zone in their surrounding area.

In a statement, the municipality called on the relevant government services to rescind the initial permit given to the project by the agriculture ministry.

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