07 February 2014 13:38

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis on Thursday launched an action plan for listing Cyprus' wetlands in order to protect the delicate eco systems.
The programme will be implemented by Terra Cypria, the Cyprus foundation for the protection of the environment.
It was launched in the wake of  celebrations of World Wetlands Day on February 2.
Addressing the launch, Kouyialis said that it is imperative to protect the environment and wetlands since they are elements directly linked to the quality of life.
Wetlands, Kouyialis added, are highly important ecosystems as they have a large number of species of flaura and fauna, including many which are endemic, rare or threatened with extinction.
Today, he said, the island's wetlands are subject to more pressures than in the past since they depend on natural and artificial inflows of water reserves and are affected by human intervention, including housing developments, pollution and waste.
The wetlands listing programme, the Minister said, is a significant tool in efforts by the Agriculture Ministry to protect the environment and the species of flaura and fauna.
Terra Cypria has applied to Switzerland- based "MAV Fondation Pour La Nature" to carry out an 18-month study in an aim to recognise all regions larger than 1,000 square metres that can be characterised as wetlands, on the basis of the definition of the Ramsar convention on wetlands.
The aim of the study is to register Cyprus wetlands in order to protect them.
Key local wetlands include the ones at Akrotiri and the Larnaca Salt Lake.


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