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EU Warns Cyprus on Landfills, Criminal Penalties

cyprus environmentThe European Commission has given Cyprus a two-month warning to implement laws on waste management and criminal penalties for people who break environmental laws, it said today in a statement.

The EU Waste Framework Directive lays down laws on waste management principles like 'polluter pays' and requires member states to manage their waste through prevention, reuse, recycling, other recovery and disposal.

There are 117 landfills in Cyprus, which are set to be closed and restored, according to interior minister Neoclis Sylikiotis. To combat the problem of pollution from landfills, municipal solid waste facilities were built in Larnaca and there are two more units planned for construction in Nicosia and Limassol. The solid waste processing plant in Paphos will be upgraded, said the minister recently.

But critics say that much more action is needed to protect the environment because greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, landfills and industry here are amongst the highest in Europe.

Criminal sanctions for environmental offences

Cyprus also has two months to implement criminal penalties for serious breaches of environmental laws. Illegal shipment of waste, pollution from shipping or trading in endangered species are all examples of breaches that carry criminal penalties throughout the EU.

Today's 'reasoned opinions' are the second stage in the three-step infringement process; the next step is a court case in front of the European Court of Justice.


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