10 February 2014 16:29

The House Environment Committee has decided to appoint a national committee to deal with environmental issues with the participation of the Foreign Affairs and Agriculture Ministries, the House, MEPs and scientific bodies.
This was in view of the issue of illegal quarrying of Turkish-held Pentadaktylos mountain range and the environmental damages caused.
The aim is to put pressure on EU institutions to push for the protection of Pentadaktylos and of the wider occupied areas.
MPs also suggested that there should be transparency regarding EU funds of €1.5 million that were provided for environmental issues in the occupied areas such as "Natura 2000".
Environmentalists have warned that if the uncontrolled quarrying does not stop soon the 'five peaks' of Pentadaktylos would start disappearing.
According to Committee members, there are between 17 and 39 quarries operating in Pentadaktylos with permission of the pseudo-state.  
House Environment Committee chairman Adamos Adamou said the national committee on environmental issues that will be set up with the agreement of the Foreign Affairs and Environment ministries will be coordinated by the Environment Commissioner.
He said the aim was to address environmental issues and through suggestions participate in decision-making bodies such as the EU Commission and the European Parliament.
"It is time we take action," said Adamou, adding that "in order for the Commission's recommendations to be of value, there should be respect towards the environment in the free areas".
Cypris should demand explanations from EU institutions concerning funds given to occupied areas, while he opposed the cutting of funds towards the Turkish Cypriot community and towards Natura sites.
Diko MP Sofoclis Fittis said that quarrying activity at Pentadaktylos has increased in the last 10 years and the consequences were irreversible.  
Greens MP George Perdikis said that it was the responsibility of Turkish Cypriot parties to protect Pentadaktylos and to this end the issue of destruction of cultural heritage and of Pentadaktylos will be discussed at the next meeting between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties at Ledra Palace.
MEP Eleni Theocharous said that appropriate corrective measures should be taken regarding the quarries.
She added that €1.5m is not enough to restore the damage, and said that the EU Commission should adopt "punishing measures" for Turkey, who, have the responsibility for the damage caused.


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