Cyprus Mail

Greens raise concerns over water quality in Achna Dam

Achna, Achna dam, sewage, animal waste
The party noted that a month has passed since the incident involving leakage of liquid animal waste into the dam

Findings of the analyses completed on water samples from the Achna dam are worrying, the Greens party said in a statement on Wednesday.

The party noted that a month has passed since the incident involving leakage of liquid animal waste into the dam and the subsequent ban on water usage for irrigation, no official action has been taken.

Earlier in February, a holding reservoir at a large cattle farming unit failed, resulting in seepage of waste into the surrounding fields, wetlands and the Achna dam.

In response, the agriculture ministry announced it was monitoring the situation and conducting water sampling, while imposing a temporary ban on the use of dam water.

The Greens charged that despite the seriousness of the incident no information has been made public on the authorities’ investigation of the pollution of a uniquely important wetland included in the Natura 2000 network of European habitats.

The Greens party raised questions about the handling of the matter and the thoroughness of the state’s scrutiny. They questioned whether the prominence of the livestock enterprise influenced the apparent lack of a decisive response by authorities.

“Were the huge cesspools licensed and legal? Why had no preventive measures been taken to protect the dam against possible leakage? Why are livestock units allowed to operate on the shore of the dam lake? What will be the consequences for the company that is rumoured to own the tanks? Does the fact that it is one of the largest cattle breeding and dairy units in Cyprus create cover-up conditions?”

Representatives of environmental organisations, as well as the community’s mayor, previously contended that the situation at the cattle breeding facility had been chronically problematic.

The party went on to state that no official information from the competent authorities nor lab results about the suitability of the dam water for irrigation of adjacent croplands has been released.

This is alarming, the party said, particularly since it had carried out its own laboratory testing, the results of which “raised reasonable concerns.”

“Our own analyses reveal significant pollution of the dam’s waters. What do the analyses of the water and environment departments show?” the Greens demanded to know.

Noting that the “polluter pays” principle ought to apply no matter who the polluter is, the party demanded immediate publication of state lab results and attribution of responsibilities in accordance with the law.

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