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Protected Karpaz facing Environmental Attack

31 October 2012

Is the construction of another fuel depot in the Karpaz courting environmental disaster?
The proposed site at Kalicek already has two fuel depots and given the limited government resources, how would emergency services cope in case of fire? What if there are fuel spillages offshore?

Snorkling at Golden Beach

Snorkling at Golden Beach

The Karpaz, an area of outstanding beauty, has been designated a protected area for eco-tourism. How is it then that the Council of Ministers has given the green light for building a fuel terminal of massive capacity? Why is there a gas rig in Iskele? Drilling for gas began there in April this year by a Turkish Petrochemical company. (See related article)

These are some of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, none seem to fit.

Of course, one cannot ignore the argument for economic development which should benefit North Cyprus. It is claimed that 1000 jobs would be created. (That seems a little optimistic). Further, that vast amounts of money would accrue to the economically hard-pressed North. One wonders how much of this much-vaunted wealth would filter down to the man in the street. If it meant a real improvement in road conditions, better infrastructure for this part of the island etc., perhaps the sacrifice would be worth it. However, it’s doubtful that this would be the case.

On the other side of the argument, why further despoil the Karpaz. It may well impact on the on-going business of eco-tourism; therefore incomes would be lost.

Next year, Golden Beach, Karpaz will be the venue of the largest ever music festival in Northern Cyprus. What impact will the new terminal have on the tens of thousands of festival goers expected to attend? Would they ever want to return? (And how will the festival itself impact this natural area?)

The fuel depots, ugly installations that they are, may well be the thin edge of the wedge. It is said that the current plans for the fuel terminal will have a storage capacity of one million cubic meters of petrol or diesel. What horrendous eyesore might come next?

For some years now housing estates have been built willy-nilly and scattered all over the North side. Now come oil depots, a gas drilling rig and an oil terminal. Perhaps the Karpaz should be declared a world heritage site. That may be the only way to save it.

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