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Clean-up of mining waste at Mavrali beach begins

kadis argakas
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis on site with other officials (photo CNA)

Some 17,000 cubic metres of mining waste is being removed from Argaka’s Mavrali beach in the Paphos district as part of a clean-up of an environmentally important area, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said on Tuesday.

Speaking on site as work got underway, Kadis said this was a significant step in efforts launched a few years ago to fully restore an area he described as extremely important ecologically and socially as it is of special interest to local communities.

“We started with the removal of an invasive species, the acacia, and we are continuing by removing mining waste which has accumulated in the area as a result of the operation for one century of the mine nearby,” he said.

The minister said the waste which has accumulated in the later created a particularly negative picture, turned the sea yellow, and created problems for the environment.

“It was a universal demand from society to restore the area as regards this issue as well and today the effort gets underway,” he said.

The process of removing some 17,000 cubic metres of mining waste is expected to be completed by March, before the nesting season of sea turtles which reproduce in the area. He noted that five departments were involved –  the forestry, fisheries, environment and geological surveys departments and the mines service so as to address the issue from all aspects. This reflects the importance the agriculture ministry attaches to the area and the environment more generally, he added.

Once the material has been collected, it will be returned to where it was taken from on the basis of studies which have shown that environmentally this was the best course of action, he added. Nature will be allowed to do it work, but if the need arises to transfer sand to locations from where a large quantity of mining waste is removed, then this will be done according to guidelines to be given by experts, he added.

Polis Chrysochous Mayor Yiotis Papachristofi spoke of a “blessed day” since with the cooperation of all competent departments, the procedure has started to remove waste which is dangerous to human health. Restoring the area will also help the turtles, he added.

And president of Argakas community council Spyros Pelopidas thanked the ministry for their work to restore an area he said will be the ‘diamond of the Mediterranean.’

 

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