Scores of Dhali residents gathered on Saturday outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia calling for the implementation of a cabinet decision to remove two asphalt plants operating in their area.

The government has already decided to relocate the two plants, but it is having problems in finding suitable locations after reactions from residents living near likely new locations.

Residents of the Agion Constantinou and Elenis parish in Dhali, drove in a convoy of cars to the Presidential Palace calling for the relocation of the plants.

Dhali residents have staged many protests in recent years, complaining of breathing problems caused by the emissions.

Head of the Movement for the Improvement of Quality of Life, Giorgos Olympios called for the president’s intervention for a final timeframe for the relocation of the plants and for coordination of the state services assessing the studies for this move. Though cabinet had taken a decision in 2019 and a timeframe had been set for the plants’ relocation, there has been no progress, he said.

Olympios said, however, they were against the plants’ relocation to areas where they would affect other local residents.

“We are calling for a proper planning so that the residents of other areas are not affected, to prevent more damage,” Olympios said.

Head of the Greens, Charalambos Theopemptou, said there has been great delay over the years on this issue and that now that elections are approaching, “all of a sudden, the activity for the relocations has started”.

He said the government ought to first do its research, make sure it would not affect people and then move them.

The plants were scheduled to relocate to Vasiliko in February but following complaints from the nine communities surrounding that area the move was put on hold.

Earlier in the month Nicosia district court rejected a state request to shut down the plants pending their relocation elsewhere. This decision was to be appealed by the attorney-general.