Quarries destroying Pentadaktylos

By Kyriacos Kiliaris
Latest images showing changes to the Pentadaktylos Mountain range made by the various stone quarries have environmentalists on both sides of the divide fuming.

Activists say a “truly frightening” picture is taking shape before our eyes with the erosion of the mountain being visible from afar.

The erosion of the Pentadaktylos mountain range caused by the stone quarries in the north is one of the most serious ecological problems on the island, and there seems to be no end to it. Since 1975, a total of 341 such quarries have been licensed, with 56 of them still licensed, and 36 still active.

Dogan Sahir, head of the Green Peace Movement in the north, said that the legal framework for these quarries needs updating, as the demand for stone has dropped. “They are destroying the mountain without even knowing what the true quarrying needs are,” argued Sahir.

He said the quarries are operating in an unplanned manner without being aware of what the raw material needs actually are. The head of the Green Peace Movement called on authorities to step in and take action.

He urged authorities to ban exports of raw materials being quarried from the mountain range and products which are made from these materials. Sahir said that the ground’s morphology is being seriously altered as quarries also use explosives.

Residents of the surrounding villages are also protesting against the ecological disaster taking place. They are worried over health problems that may arise from the dust clouds created by quarry blasts.
Meanwhile, environmentalists in the south of the island have also raised their voices about quarries that are causing ecological disaster.

According to the data available, there are 112 quarries in the south, with some being an ecological hazard. Speaking to the Cyprus Weekly, the head of the environmental organisation Friends of Akamas Christos Theodorou said that one these quarries is located in the village of Antrolykou in Akamas, which would ordinarily be protected under the Natura 2000 framework.

Many natural habitats have been destroyed as the quarry uses explosives to remove large chunks of stone, Theodorou said.

He said this particular quarry had “already caused a lot of damage to the ecosystem of the area, altering the morphology of the area”.

“What’s worse,” Theodorou continued, “is that they are being given licences to expand the quarry.”
Theodorou explained that the justification given by authorities for allowing the quarry to operate and expand, is the building of the new marina in Paphos.

“However, there are many more quarries which do not cause such environmental disasters. There are even modern techniques that do not require raw materials from quarries,” pointed out Theodorou.
“The state complains and rightfully campaigns over the ecological damage caused by the quarries in Pentadaktylos, but ignores the ecological disaster in Akamas.”


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