Brussels has warned Cyprus that it will cut off EU funding for municipal waste generation and management unless the state takes definitive measures to comply with the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).
The European Commission has already fired two warnings to the Cyprus government with the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and the Directorate-General for Environment both sending letters to Nicosia.
Both warnings speak of funding being suspended unless waste management on the island is put in order.
The Landfill Directive by the WFD had set out specific targets regarding bio waste and how it should be disposed of in landfills.
Specifically, by 2006, biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill had to be reduced to 75 % of the total amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) generated in 1995. This share was required to be further reduced to 50% and 35% by 2009 and 2016, respectively.
As things currently stand, the only waste treatment and disposal plant operating on the island is the one in Koshi and even that is not meeting all the necessary criteria.
The landfills in Kotsiatis and Vatis are also said to be woefully inefficient.
Brussels says the plant in Koshi should be processing around 80,000 tons of waste from nearby Kotsiatis while advances in technology need to be made in order to comply with EU directives.
The report from Brussels back in 2013 said that “statistics show that landfill rates in Cyprus remain very high (79%) and recycling rates are still too low (21%) to comply with the 50% set in the EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD) which has to be met by 2020.
Cyprus must invest in municipal waste recycling in the next coming years in order to reach the recycling target of 50% by 2020.”
It added: “More efforts are needed to develop separate collection at source combined with the required facilities to ensure a high level of recycling/composting.
“The 2010 target for the diversion of biodegradable waste from landfills was not met, and the minimum quantity allowed to be disposed was exceeded by 64%.”
“No developments in infrastructure and collection systems took place that would divert biodegradable waste from disposal in the national waste management plan.”
Apart from the usual squabbling between local governments over the handling of waste management, plans to build new landfills have also been hit by corruption scandals in both Larnaca and Paphos.
“Improvements are expected in 2016, since the planned initiatives (development of treatment facility in Limassol, implementation of selective collection for paper and organic waste) should have been completed in 2016,” continued the report.