A week-long “Blue Campaign” in Limassol aimed at preventing and combating sea pollution managed to stop at least two cases of sea pollution reaching the town’s bathing areas, Phileleftheros reported on Monday.
It said the campaign was carried out from June 25 to July 2 by the municipality in cooperation with competent authorities such as the Fisheries Department, the Cyprus Port Authority, the deputy ministry for shipping and the coastguard and aimed to locate possible sources of pollution from land and sea and to coordinate action to deal with it more swiftly.
It included daily audit of data submitted by commercial ships, inspection of ships at the anchorage, checks of drainage systems that release water to the sea and coordinated patrols.
The issue of pollution in the sea between Moni and the new Limassol Port has been a headache for several summers, with swimmers complaining of foam, but the definitive source of the pollution has still not been determined, despite several efforts by the municipality and other authorities.
The problem becomes particularly acute in the summer. Speculation as to the possible sources includes the ships in the anchorage, passing ships that either dump their effluents or clean out their fuel tanks and the fish farms.
Limassol Municipality has voiced concern over the issue as it steps up efforts seeking to resolve the problem once and more all. Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said the municipality was grappling with two issues — locating and eradicating the sources of pollution on the one hand, and preventing any such pollution moving from further within the sea to the swimmers’ area.
“We will not stop our efforts and will do everything possible so that our town has a beautiful, clean sea,” he said.
A deterrent to resolving the issue has been the splintering of responsibility as regards the coastal area among five ministries. And despite new legislation, gaps remain such as the effluent tanks of small recreation boats, which make it difficult to locate the source of pollution.
Nicolaides said the municipality had put pressure for the licensing of a company that will take delivery of liquid and solid waste from ships, and pushed for the construction of new tanks for these effluents to be treated by the Limassol Sewerage Board. It also contributed to a decision that all actions on sea pollution should be coordinated by the permanent secretary of the Transport Ministry and the Environment Commissioner.
A series of measures have been implemented. The area from the port to the Ayios Tychonas hotels has been split into two zones and VTS Vasiliko Terminal Services LTD – VSS EPE Environmental Protection Services has been contracted to monitor and combat sea pollution in Limassol bay for the period of May to September.
Two private patrol boats are used carrying out patrols within the swimming areas and cleaning up any pollution they spot.