Wastewater from excavations carried out during the construction of Limassol’s towers that is disposed at sea is an environmental and health concern, Department of Environment director, Costas Hadjipanayiotou said.
He said the wastewater is disposed near to areas where people swim and results in cloudy waters, which is something that should concern authorities, especially during the summer period.
Water quality should be kept at high levels, in order to protect both public health and the environment, he added.
He went on to say that the city can absorb the simultaneous construction of two high-rise buildings at any given time without the water quality being affected.
Wastewater from a third construction can contaminate the sea with nutrients that result in eutrophication (algae blooms).
“The matter is now in the hands of the Town Planning and Housing Department, which issues construction licences,” Hadjipanayiotou said.
The Department of Environment suggested that the Town Planning Department conducted a strategic study to assess the environmental impact of high-rise building construction in all coastal cities, according to Hadjipanayiotou.
The need for a study arose after a large number of planning permit applications for high-rise buildings were submitted. Specifically, recently, 89 such applications were submitted to Town Planning and Housing Department, of which 30 were also reviewed by the Department of Environment.
“The Department of Environment will wait for a strategic study from the Town Planning Department, before it reviews any other applications,” Hadjipanayiotou said.
Replying to Green Party MP Charalambos Theopemptou, Agriculture and Environment Minister, Costas Kadis, said that Limassol wastewater disposals take place under specific terms and conditions and that the Ministry is closely monitoring them.
Currently, two high-rise buildings are being constructed in the city, for which 5,000 cubic metres of wastewater are disposed daily in the sea.
Samples of the water where the disposals happen, as well as the wastewater, are tested for quality on a weekly basis and the results are sent to the Department of Environment and the Fisheries Department, the Minister concluded.