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Coastal Marine Microbial Pollution, Cyprus 2017

Posted by Evagoras Isaias | Paphos,

Cyprus, being a small Mediterranean island in the eastern part of the Sea, is occupied by millions of tourists every year.
The number of visitors combined with the seasonality of the industry creates a huge pressure on resources management. All-inclusive packages that are offered along the southern coastline, also provide the capital for the operation of other service and product providers, such as the coastal cruises, watersports, diving etc. The sectors prefers sandy beaches and well organised services on the beach, which include hygiene services.
During summer months with a pick every year around the first week of August, beach goers, and others observe and share marine pollution incidents. The main concern is whether these phenomena are associated with human faeces and sewage. Some observers have reported smell and saw faeces on the beach or floating along popular beaches.
Main sources of this pollution could be shipping, coastal cruises, leisure boating, fishing and fisheries, as well as coastal runoff and urban seawage. Of great importance is the recent realisation of the level of corruption during Sewerage systems construction, as well as landfilled sites. The Mayors of two major coastal cities (Larnaca and Paphos) have already been jailed. Construction failures are characteristically found in Paphos during other public works, that have started and are on progress because of the Paphos 2017, Caltural Capital of Europe. In some cases they found blind pipes, disconnected pipes, excess pipes etc. It has been announced that all he pipes will be visually inspected.
An other issue relates all the above with the huge tourism industry. Because of water management issues, coastal hotels should operate their own water-recycling system. At which extend these systems are operating responsibly, is unknown.
During the years, no solution to the problem of microbial pollution by human faeces has not been found! This might surprise people, but in a European country, all the stakeholders are continuously discussing, organising meetings; the last one has been called by the Minister of Transport and involved the shipping, fisheries, environment, tourism etc. Besides, lower scale initiatives are taken by many local authorities along the southern coastline of Cyprus. It is unknown what is happening in the North, which is occupied by Turkish military forces since 1974. An independent investigation of the island from independent organisations like this initial would, among others bring the two communities (Turkish and greek Cypriots) closer together and discussing for a common issue.
A detailed oceanographic survey is proposed for the area. This could include only territory waters and cover the waters around the island. Starting from the physical characteristics of the Cyprus coastal environment (temperature, chlorophyll, nutrients, currents, waves, pollutants etc) and the biological oceanographic features (productivity, zooplankton) we will build an idea of the annual circulation patterns and provide the basis for the identification of the sources of pollution. Analysis of the microbial load of the water samples, as well as when and where observed, will answer the questions on the origin and sources of pollution. With this information available we can then identify solutions and adaptations of procedures so as public authorities and other stakeholders respond quickly and coordinated until final solutions and increased responsibility applied on this naturally non-sustainable touristic development.
Monitoring protocols can be produced and forced to apply.

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