The nine communities near Vasiliko announced on Friday they will close the local energy centre to protest the recent government decision to move two asphalt plants to the area.
This follows a series of protests by locals in response to an announcement by the attorney general’s office confirming the relocation has been scheduled for sometime in the next three months.
Kalavasos community leader Lefteris Foka, who also leads a coordinating committee uniting the nine communities, told the Cyprus News Agency that the communities will announce a date and time for the closure soon.
The plants, which were originally located in the industrial areas of Geri and Tseri, are set to be relocated to Vasiliko as a result of a decision prohibiting their operation in the Nicosia communities.
“We had two choices before us,” Foka said. “The first was cutting off the Vasiliko energy centre for a few hours and the second was a convoy to the Presidential Palace. In the end we decided that our next protest measure will be closing down the energy centre”.
He added that for a year now, the communities have been clarifying that they would not accept the move as the area is already heavy with industrial plants.
“Everyone must realise that Vasiliko has contributed greatly to the country’s economy and has hosted many manufacturers,” he added.
The Vasiliko industrial area hosts fuel terminals, the island’s largest power station and a cement factory plus it will also have the energy hub. A waste management plant is also located in the wider area.
“We think we have done our duty to our country and the state must understand that we cannot stand for more heavy industry in our area,” Foka said.
He repeated the communities’ call for the government to find a different location for the plants, reiterating the argument that placing all of the island’s energy sources in one place is dangerous, as an accident or sabotage could paralyse the entire republic’s energy supply – just like the Mari accident in 2011.
He added that the nine communities have been blocking the construction of factories processing dangerous chemicals in the area since 2013, and had suggested a different area is found for fuel storage.
“We had also requested and are expecting a cumulative study, which was never carried out, because they don’t want to see how our frequent cancer deaths correlate to the pollution of the area”.