The social media and traditional media have been on fire with public shock and anger over the ugly development at Peyia Sea Caves in the Akamas, which are within the Natura 2000 protected area. As if that wasn’t enough of an outrage, more sea caves at Governor’s Beach are under threat of being built on by developers who couldn’t care less about the nearby Monk Seals – also a protected species under EU and Cyprus laws. Only 700 monk seals are left in the world, and Cyprus sea caves are one of the few remaining mating habitats.
So far, the Legal Services have done nothing to prevent the disgraceful constructions. The zoning laws have been changed for domestic construction, but this does not supersede the environmental laws. The developer has even quickened the pace of the construction in Peyia, working into the night to complete it, according to residents’ posts on Facebook.
This is an open call to the European Commission for Environment to investigate and take legal action to prevent the construction from going forward. Permanent settlement of these areas would bring long-term noise and other types of pollution to the area, negatively affecting the species’ chances of surviving. It would make a laughing stock of Natura 2000, which is designed to protect endangered species and preserve natural beauty. The flimsy legal basis claimed by the developers does not supersede Natura laws or the ethics of destroying precious environmental heritage.
Photos of the construction at the sea caves posted on Facebook by a concerned resident of Peyia are below.
MP and environmentalist Charalambos Theopemptou has expressed deep concern about the situation. The European Commission has the right to sue Cyprus for failing to enforce Natura laws, and this could result in huge fines that would have to be paid by the taxpayer.
Environmentalists demonstrated outside the House of Representatives on February 28th.
The crossroads has been reached. Either Cyprus will value its environment as much as it values its natural gas, or it will destroy its own reputation and natural resources with unnecessary construction.
Please share this article and tag the European Commission. If you have connections with environmentalists in Europe, let them know. Only exposure and public pressure can save the Monk Seals and beautiful sea caves now.