Outraged residents of Dali on Tuesday complained the planned hosting of the AfroBanana festival in the nearby forest will damage local wildlife.

The Commission of Residents and Friends of Dali listed nine reasons why the festival, scheduled for next month, should not be held in Dali Forest.

The residents said they want the festival to take place, just not in Dali, saying there are “other places in the area more suitable for this event which will not bother people and will not harm the environment to such a degree”.

They said that the festival will damage the environment and cause “upset to the community”.

They also claim that the festival carries with it a very high risk of fire, saying that such an eventuality would be a “national catastrophe”.

They also say that delivering infrastructure will require a great deal of heavy traffic and that “light and noise pollution will be unavoidable”.

This, they add, will place added stress on the environment in an area of “unique and sensitive biodiversity”.

The residents claim that “we all know that people at festivals drink alcohol and take other stimulants”, and ask whether such people are in the best condition to care about the environment.

Residents’ representative Duncan McCowan said a species of spider has been found in the forest that had not been found anywhere else in the world.

He said that given that Cyprus has no endangered animal species list, it is impossible to know the damage that would be done by holding such a festival.

McCowan said that area is an ancient forest, and that as a result its biodiversity is “more sensitive” than other locations which his group had suggested and that this would be put in danger by the hosting of a festival in the area.

However, festival organiser Constantinos Kyprianou said the forest is not a Natura 2000 protected area and that it was even suggested to them by the forestry department.

Kyprianou was keen to point out that environmentalism is a “characteristic of the festival”, and that AfroBanana is the only festival in Cyprus that carries out environmental research into its potential locations before holding the festival.

He said that more than 40 potential locations had been surveyed and that following the completion of the research, the festival received approval from local authorities in Dali to hold the festival.

He added that festival organisers clean the festival area both before and after the event. Additionally, he said they use recyclable receptacles for food and drink, portable ash trays to ensure that tobacco products are properly disposed of, and that water from washing facilities and toilets is stored as grey water and safely disposed of.

He also questioned the environmental concerns of residents as he said the proposed festival location is “a dump”, claiming it is currently full of discarded rubbish.

“If they cared so much about the forest, they would clean it themselves”, he said.