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Quarries Continue to Damage Environment

Quarries Continue to Damage Environment

May 20
10:00 2018

There are 36 active stone quarries throughout the TRNC. The gallery method was replaced by the terrace method of stone blasting but the destruction continues. Furthermore, the blasted areas are not restored.

The profound changes in topography and disturbance of pre-existing ecosystems have made mountaintop removal highly controversial.

According to data from the Geology and Mining Department, there are 56 licensed stone mine businesses across the whole country, 36 of which are in operation. 16 of the 36 enterprises are sand and gravel, 11 mosaic stone, 6 building stone, 2 gypsum, 1 stream bed sand and gravel.

Day by day, the Beşparmak Mountains, where stone quarries are the most numerous, are disappearing. Despite the consensus on reducing the number of stone quarries, no steps have been taken.

Locals living in settlements near stone quarries complain about the blasting method used in quarries. The people cannot open their doors or windows because of the dust clouds created by blasting. Windows are broken and walls are cracked.

Secretary-General of the Biologists Association Hasan Sarpten has said that everyone agrees that the current number of quarries is high. Nevertheless, there is no agreement as to how the number of quarries will be reduced.

Stone quarries across the TRNC are emerging some of the worst environmental polluters and destroyers of nature. Currently, ​​3 million 601 thousand square meters of land have been destroyed. That number increases by the day. The mountains that divide Nicosia and Girne, where the quarries are the most common, are almost eroded.

While the damage by the blasting process at the quarries is becoming more wide spread, the pall of dust left behind threatens the health of the people living and working in the region.

Stone quarry operations also pose a fire hazard, the dust that is dispersed during the blasting process causes the vegetation in the region to dry out. In addition, blasting damages the cables on poles. Sparks from the cables ignite the dry scrub and causes fires. As a consequence, thousands of donums of land have been burnt.

Sarpten emphasised that the quarrying sector (public institutions, non-governmental organisations and businesses) are united by the fact that the number of existing quarries is high, and stated that there is no consensus on the method by which the number of quarries will be reduced.

Havadis