EC report on environment reveals insufficiencies but also progress in Cyprus

Cyprus needs to address insufficiencies on the designation of the terrestrial part of the Natura 2000 network, as well as at sea, the European Commission 2019 Environmental Implementation Review has revealed.

The report also showed that Cyprus is lagging behind on its waste management facilities and is at risk of not meeting the 2020 municipal waste recycling target of 50%.

“The 2019 EIR shows that on nature protection, insufficiencies remain on the designation of the terrestrial part of the Natura 2000 network. Moreover, there are significant insufficiencies at sea, especially in the offshore marine areas” the European Commission said in its report.

“The effective protection of Natura 2000 areas �especially coastal zone �from incompatible activities or developments that fragment or degrade them, remains a concern” it stressed.

“Management plans for these areas must be completed and properly implemented and all necessary environmental assessments carried out correctly before potentially damaging plans or projects can be approved” it pointed out, adding that the necessary mitigation measures should be properly applied.

The report noted that some progress has been made on the illegal trapping of birds thanks to increased enforcement and stricter fines for mist-netting in legislation. “However, the trapping numbers are still unacceptably high” it said.

The report spoke of “some progress on waste management”, as the strategic framework for waste is now in place and the national waste management plans for all waste streams have been adopted and noted that the illegal landfill in Limassol has closed and the one in Nicosia was expected to close before the end of 2018. The illegal landfill at Kotsiatis eventually closed down in February.

According to the report of the European Commision new economic instruments have been set out in the national waste management plan, but there is a significant delay in their adoption and implementation. “Cyprus needs to make significant efforts to establish an adequate network of facilities that would effectively manage all of its waste in line with the waste hierarchy if it is to reach the 2020 targets and even higher recycling targets” the report underlined.

According to the Commission’s 2018 ‘early warning report’, Cyprus is at risk of not meeting the 2020 municipal waste recycling target of 50%.

The EIR said that Cyprus has made some progress on water management, notably by adopting its second river basin management plan (RBMP) and putting in place a new water pricing policy that covers some water services, but stressed that “significant gaps remain in monitoring programmes”.

“It also remains to be seen if the new legal framework on water pricing provides adequate incentives for users to use water efficiently, as adequate metering and volumetric charging of abstractions are limited” it added.

The report also cited the European Environment Agency report on European bathing water quality, according to which in 2017, 97.3% of Cyprus’ 113 bathing waters were of excellent quality and none were of poor quality.

Source: Cyprus News Agency