By KEREM HASAN
Cyprus Today visited the iconic waterfront this week to find glass, cans, plastic bags and other rubbish still floating in the water, and a newly paved walkway subsiding, two months after the storms which also caused the collapse of a lighthouse.
Inaction by authorities has prompted fears that tourists will be turned off by the scene – and raw sewage said to be still flowing into the harbour — with just weeks to go before the start of the holiday season.
Yacht Entrepreneurs’ Union chairman Faik Gencer told this paper the harbour was “to put it lightly, in a horrifying state”.
“It’s a mess from top to bottom . . . no-one is lifting a finger to clean it . . . The government shamefully staged a basic clean-up last week, picking up cigarette butts and some weeds – then posed for the press as though they had done something extraordinary . . .
“They have now installed garden lights in the ugliest of ways . . . along the sea wall. There are sunken boats that have been left to rot since the December storm. The whole thing is a disgrace, and this is what greets tourists.”
Mr Gencer said the continuing absence of a lighthouse posed a “great danger” to fishing boats and other vessels and that rocks under the sea wall were “unstable”.
He said members of his organisation would install their own solar-powered “EU-standard lighthouse” as a form of protest.
Cyprus Turkish Travel Agents’ Union chairman Orhan Tolun said the harbour was “the image of North Cyprus” and asked: “Why are we spending millions of TL every year at international fairs and exhibitions and using [it] as one of our most attractive destinations when it’s in such a mess?
“There needs to be urgent action by the government.”
Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü said that he had approached ministers “many times” to discuss his proposal that a commission should be set up, including Girne Municipality, to restore the harbour to its former glory but had not had a response.
“There is an urgent need to make a decision before the end of March so that a clean-up operation can take place before April and May, when tourism begins to liven up.”
No-one at the Tourism Ministry, which is responsible for the harbour, was available for comment.
Photo by Susie Forster
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