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The Geological Environment in Cyprus


Although in Europe the great impact on the geological environment started with the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, Cyprus remained almost unaffected until the early 20th century. The expansion of towns, the revival of the mining activity, the intensive cultivation and use of surface water and groundwater, and industrialisation are some of the activities that put tremendous strain on the environment. By the end of the 20th century the impacts of the economic and other activities of the Cypriots on the geological environment have been more than obvious as one can observe from:

a)       the large number of abandoned mine pits (Photos E1 and E2) at the periphery of the Troodos Range from which cupriferous sulphides were extracted;

b)       the large asbestos mine (Photo E3) at Amiantos on the Troodos Range;

c)       the large number of quarries (Photos E4,E5), most characteristic of which are those on the southern side of the Pentadaktylos Range;

d)       the waste dumps from mining and quarrying (Photo E6);

e)       the landfills (rubbish dumps) all over Cyprus;

f)         the pollution of the ground and the waters with solid and liquid waste (Photos E7 and A9);

g)       the intrusion of sea water into the coastal aquifers.


It is apparent from the above that the geological environment in Cyprus has already suffered great damage from people’s actions in the last 80-100 years.  Although the best way to protect the environment is to avoid causing any damage to it, this is not practical because human developments are necessary and hence unavoidable.  The only practical way is to plan future developments properly, by predicting impacts on the environment and taking the necessary mitigation measures into account during planning, construction and operation.


In order to achieve these objectives, a process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been developed and applied in many countries, including Cyprus.  This process has been enforced through legislation and is applied to many developments, which are expected to have a significant effect on the environment.


After the application of the EIA process in Cyprus, for more than ten years the situation with the environment has improved considerably.  People are also becoming more sensitive and demanding on environmental matters, because they have the opportunity to become involved in the EIA process.


Quarries and mines are necessary to the economy of Cyprus, but are among the developments that cause considerable damage to the geological environment.  EIAs have been carried out since the early 1990s and the situation has improved considerably (Photo E8).



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