Once again Cyprus is given additional time to close down the illegal landfills in Vati and Kotsiatis. Cyprus was faced with fines over the delay to shut down the landfills, ordered by the EU back in 2013. An infringement process was initiated in May this year and the island was looking at fines worth around EUR 30,000 per day for each day of delay.
The EU court decision from 2013 stressed the need to shut down two landfills in two years. But there were delays, due to corruption cases in relation to Waste Management Units in Pafos and in Koshi, which were brought to court. In May this year, when the infringement process was initiated, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development Nicos Kouyialis promised to find a solution to shutdown Vati and Kotsiatis as soon as possible to prevent possible penalties from the European Commission.
Few months later two landfills are still standing problem.
“With one of them, the one closest to Larnaca (Vati), we do not see an issue. We will be giving Cyprus some more time on the Kotsiatis landfill. I believe there is an agreement still pending between waste management plant Koshi and the landfill. So hopefully we will sort this out within the next few weeks,” European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said earlier this week after meeting with Kouyialis in Nicosia.
According to Cyprus Mail, Kouyialis promised more efforts will be put into terminating the two illegal landfills as well as into coming up with an agreement with the operator of Koshi. He pointed out that waste management is related problem. The Koshi facility currently serves the Larnaca and Famagusta districts, and converts waste to compost.
The commissioner told Kouyialis that Cyprus’ recycling rate is very low with almost 80 per cent of municipal solid waste going to the landfill. He also added that Europe is moving towards a circular economy, where the material is being recovered instead of sending products to landfills.
“Cyprus is still throwing a lot of material into landfills so we want to support Cyprus so that first of all residents start separating more waste and more importantly they start recycling more waste as well,” Vella said.
EU standards say that waste must be recycled, but Cyprus is still battling with its householders waste and plastic bags usage. Statistic shows that the country’s domestic waste amounts to 40% of all the waste produced in the country. Data also show that currently in Cyprus households and businesses recycle plastic, metal and tetrapak packages, paper and glass. The recycle of batteries and electronic and electric devices is also quite popular in Cyprus.