The Green Party on Monday slammed the government for minimising the effects of a factory fire that broke out on Thursday in Yeri.
According to official statements, the air quality was not hugely affected by the fire. After it was put out, the labour inspection department’s air quality monitoring unit said the smoke had risen high, about 100 to 200 metres, and too high to cause any adverse effects to people’s health.
However, a University of Cyprus (UCy) monitoring system on Sunday found the information imparted to the public was not representative, contradicting the official position of the government on the effects of the fire.
The research team leading the monitoring system said that due to wind directions at the time, the bulk of the emissions travelled horizontally, not vertically.
“After careful studies on the effects of the fire in Yeri, it was found that indeed it had negative consequences on the surrounding area and on people’s health,” the Green Party’s statement said.
“Over the years we have repeatedly voiced our concerns regarding the risk of pollution stemming from fires. We find it unacceptable that competent state agencies decided to reassure the public and conceal the real dangers of the fire, which spread toxic substances in the surrounding area,” the party added.
The Greens have several times in the past called for the creation of a proper crisis management unit and has said not enough is done to prevent similar accidents from happening.
The UCy measurements showed that, based on the variability of the wind direction in the 24 hours following the fire, the areas of Potamia, Louroudjina, Lymbia were most effected and to a lesser extent, Yeri, Dhali, Troulli and Avdellero.
The fire occurred in a factory that recycles materials, mostly from vehicles.
After the fire broke out, fire department spokesman Andreas Kettis said due to the composition of the burning materials, firefighters were using foam, and it would take some time before the flames were completely put out. As to explosion-like sounds heard in the area, Kettis said these were popping car tyres.
The fire was brought under control on Friday.