By YASEMİN GÜLPINAR
Yasemin Çobanoğlu made the demand after questions were raised over the cleanliness of bathing waters along the north coast of the island, despite them being given the “all clear” by government inspectors.
She said it was possible for water samples to come back clean if they were taken from 50cm deep any after any pollution had already risen to the surface.
EU bathing water testing standards require samples to be taken from 30cm underwater in an area at least one metre deep.
Her calls came amid ongoing public concern about bathing water standards after a “change in the colour of the water” sparked panic at beaches in Alsancak last week, as reported by Cyprus Today, although officials blamed tour boats for dumping sewage at sea.
“Nowhere in the world do we see boats or yachts discharge waste into the sea, even if it is one or two kilometres away, but here we still struggle with this,” Ms Çobanoğlu said.
“We will never be able to take control unless it is banned. Hotels and other facilities should also be banned from [pumping treated wastewater] into the sea as it isn’t sufficiently purified . . .
“An initiative must be taken, and the political will found, to fight against this pollution which . . . also [includes] plastic bags and food that is found floating around, especially at Kervansaray [beach].”
Ms Çobanoğlu also said official bathing water results were “unreliable” because “equipment” was lacking after the State Laboratory was forced relocate to the Veterinary Department building following a fire last December.
Coastal sites from Karşıyaka to Kervansaray, including Manolya Hotel in Lapta, Merit Crystal Cove Hotel in Alsancak and the council-run Mare Monte beach, were all deemed to be “extremely clean” this week after passing tests for E coli and faecal pollution.
Test results for four other beaches in the area have yet to be announced, including those for Çatalköy’s Shayna Beach, where beachgoers told Cyprus Today of a “jelly-like” substance floating on the surface.
Environmental Protection Department head Abdullah Aktolgalı said any waste was likely to be from boats or land-based drainage systems.
His comments were backed by Health Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu, who said there was “no need” to shut down any beaches as the recently reported pollution was “only superficial”.
Teksen Köroğlu, environment spokesman for the Cyprus Turkish Medical Association, said traces of intestinal enterococci found in water samples near Merit Crystal Cove and Mare Monte were still a cause for concern, “even though they were within EU standards”.
He called on the authorities to launch an “immediate investigation” into the source of any pollutants to ensure “zero” contamination levels.
“I am not comfortable about the situation,” he added.
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