Authorities are looking for ways to clean up the river bed where a fire which led to the Sunday’s evacuation of Polis Chrysochous camping site started.
The reeds are to be removed and trees planted, but machinery cannot be used because the river bed and endemic flora and fauna are protected.
The issue was discussed at a special meeting in Polis on Tuesday with mayor Yiotis Papachristofi saying that a decision was taken to clear the river bed of the reeds, but that another meeting will be held in Nicosia on Friday that will look at the environmental aspect. The municipality will ask for a significant amount of money to carry out the work, the mayor added.
Papachristofi said that the Forestry Department which is responsible for the area around the campsite has given assurances that it will ensure safety.
But he acknowledged that the reeds in the river bed posed a risk. “For us the most important thing is that people should not be at risk. Cleaning up will start tomorrow.”
Maria Xenofontos of the Environment Service said that time and money were needed to ensure the right management of the river’s ecosystem.
“We are talking about a sensitive ecosystem where there are several species not just reeds, but species that are protected and must not be removed,” she said.
She said animal life was protected by a European directive on natural habitats. The reeds were a foreign species, but steps must be taken to ensure that in removing them, no problem is created to the the river’s ecosystem.