The Supreme Court on Thursday issued decrees prohibiting the operation of the two asphalt factories in the areas of Geri and Tseri, pending their relocation following nearby residents’ complaints.
The news was announced in a tweet by the Office of the Attorney General who said they won an appeal filed at the Supreme Court against the decisions of Nicosia district court.
“Orders have just been issued prohibiting the operation of asphalt plants in the industrial areas of Geri and Tseri,” the AG’s office said.
The decision will come into effect 21 days after the relevant order is issued and until the conclusion of the lawsuits, or until the court issues another order.
The plants have affected surrounding communities and municipalities, while residents of nearby Dali have held many protests against their operation on the grounds of public health.
Cabinet eventually approved their relocation in July 2020.
Although officials had said the move will take place in six months, a recent presidency statement said the relocation to Vasiliko area will be completed in the next three months.
The agriculture ministry defended the two-year delay saying this was due to the pending completion of the necessary studies to ensure the health of nearby residents in the new location.
Meanwhile, the nine communities around Vasiliko area have repeatedly warned they would take dynamic measures if the decision to relocate the two asphalt plants to their area is implemented.
The area is already hosting fuel terminals, the island’s largest power station, a cement factory, and will also have the energy hub. A waste management plant is also located in the wider area.
To date, the right to clean air and environment is not included in the constitution or in the European legislation, the House human rights committee said last month, forcing those affected by pollution to invoke the right to life, decent living, or the protection of property to build a court case.
The committee is working to draw up a law proposal that will cover the protection of the environment and by extension the health of residents in areas with industrial activity.
In Cyprus, it is estimated that 600 to 800 premature deaths occur due to poor air quality, the chairwoman of the committee and Akel MP Irene Charalambidou had said citing figures from the European environment agency.
Checks that are carried out are insufficient, she added, while there is an issue with the monitoring and measurements of pollution from industrial plants and there are no mapped areas with increased cases of cancer or other diseases.