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Green areas ‘only for EU’s eyes’

The green areas designated in communities for the collection of garden waste and prunings are not operational according to Fire Services.

The revelations came to the fore during a Thursday meeting between the Fire Services and leaders of 89 communities which are regarded as high fire risk areas.

The green areas were set in place following an EU directive; failure in doing so would have resulted in Cyprus paying a fine to the Commission.

The areas are supposed b to cleared at regular intervals with the waste being taken to the appropriate landfill sites, but according to the local council leaders, farmers are still dumping the waste indiscriminately and in so doing, are increasing the fire hazard.

Community leaders have also complained that the state has delayed in calling for tenders to clear the roadsides which have resulted in the roads being choked with growth, further increasing the fire hazard of drivers flicking lighted cigarettes from their windows.

Community leaders and the Fire Services have, in addition, agreed to change the firefighting volunteering system. The Fire Services should be notified of all the people volunteering for fire fighting service so that they can be issued with the appropriate safety equipment and clothing. Furthermore, they will in an event of an accident while on duty, be insured. The present system does not make provisions for this.

Moves are also set to be made for the communities to be supplied with small fire trucks for the as a first step in the immediate response to wildfires

Once talks with the local communities have been completed, Fire Services Director, Marcos Tragkolas will submit a report to the Justice Minister.

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