The uprooting of bushes from a beach in the Baths of Aphrodite area was to give lifeguards better visibility of the sea, Neo Chorio community leader Andreas Christodoulou said on Friday after conservationists had criticised the mass uprooting and cutting of plants.
The Friends of Akamas group on Friday called for an explanation over the removal of vegetation during the past two days in a protected area on the hillside towards the beach under the restaurant owned by the deputy ministry for tourism at Aphrodite’s Baths.
According to the group, it seems that “the perpetrators of this ‘slaughter’” to cover their tracks burned the vegetation by pouring fuel on the beach pebbles.
This had angered people who now sought explanations, the group said.
“This is an area with the most idyllic beaches, characterised as a location of exceptional natural beauty,” the group said. They called on the competent bodies and authorities to immediately investigate and to impose deterrent penalties.
Christodoulou, whose community is in charge of that area, said it was the local authority that cleared the area from overgrown bushes around a lifeguard post to allow lifeguards better visibility of swimmers. He said the bushes will grow back, as was the case in the past after they were cutback some six years ago.
“Should we just let people drown?” he asked the Cyprus Mail.
He said they had to burn the vegetation on the spot because it is a hard-to-reach area and there was no way of loading it on a car and taking it to the community’s green spot.
“We are the real friends of Akamas, we love and protect Akamas better than anyone,” Christodoulou said.
He added that the community goes to great lengths to clean the area from the rubbish left behind by campers and excursionists and that they are very sensitive about the environment.
Friends of Akamas also said in a written statement that in their opinion, problems started from the moment authorities allowed works to cover the rocky beach there with sand to create space for umbrellas and sunbeds. “It seems now it is turning into a normal beach with the tolerance of the state, the various government departments and competent authorities!”
The group said this was “nothing but a prelude to what’s to follow as regards the unique beaches of Akamas with the creation of the so promising National Forest Park.”