Since joining the European Union, the foundation of the environmental policies of Cyprus has been reviewed. Cyprus has also signed nine international environmental agreements, and has ratified the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety. Cyprus has also ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
The Sustainable Development department of the Environment Sector is principally concerned with promoting sustainable development in Cyprus through a series of strategies and legislations and the implementation of voluntary instruments to promote environmental protection.
Departmental activities also address management of the LIFE+ programme as its national contact point.
The Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment adopts EU environmental policies on waste (hazardous and otherwise) management as well as the protection of the environment and public health.
The Environment Sector also applies a waste management strategy. This includes aspects such as:
- the type, quantity and source of waste for disposal;
- targets on reducing, re-using and recycling waste;
- specific methods for the collection and shipment of waste.
The Chemical Substances Sector of the Department of Labour Inspection complies with the relevant Cypriot and European legislation on the import, export, market distribution and use of chemical substances. The Sector aims for proper management and control of all chemical products imported, produced, exported or used.
On an international level, Cyprus has signed the international Rotterdam Convention on the Consent Process after having received Information on certain Hazardous Chemical Products and Pesticides available for the purposes of International Trade, thereby incorporating the PIC Convention.
Water and land
The Pollution Department of the Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment is responsible for supervising water and land pollution resulting from industry, stockbreeding and waste management facilities. The disposal of substances that could possibly pollute land and water constitutes a criminal offence.
It also monitors the quality of bathing water and pollution from urban waste, harmful substances and other waste, protects surface and underground waters from nitrate pollution, etc.
A four-part agricultural code of practice specifically protects against nitrate pollution:
- Code of Practice on fertiliser use
- Code of Practice on waste disposal from stockbreeding
- Code of Practice on the use of treated water
- Code of Practice on the agricultural use of sludge
Strict operation specifications apply to facilities that fall under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act, as per the Best Available Techniques. The relevant legislation is as follows:
Facilities that fall under the provisions of the above laws include large pigsties and aviaries, energy production facilities, pottery plants, cement facilities, mining facilities, aluminium industries, slaughterhouses, exsiccation facilities and waste management units,
Climate and atmosphere
The Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment is responsible for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from all economic activities. In this framework and pursuant to the law on the emissions trading system, the Sector issues greenhouse gas emission permits. It also provides all interested parties with estimates on the country's greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the measures that may be taken from all sectors of the economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment provides suppliers and users with specific information about substances that destroy the ozone layer.
The Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is the competent authority for air pollution control. Further to relevant legislation, the Department of Labour Inspection also applies legislation on limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds.
The Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is also the authority responsible for assessing and managing air quality.
The Department of Labour Inspection takes continuous measurements on air quality in nine areas throughout Cyprus. These are published on a dedicated website.
On an international level, with a view to promote an integrated strategy for the protection of the environment from air pollution, Cyprus has since 1992 ratified the International Geneva Convention of 1979 on Transboundary Long Distance Air Pollution.
Protection from noise
The sustainable development department of the Environment Sector promotes the preparation of a strategic noise chart along with an essential plan of action to be implemented within a specific timeframe, it imposes specific regulations on noise produced by equipment used in outdoor spaces and applies the EU regulations concerning greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance (MLSI) is responsible for the implementation of legislation on radiation protection, nuclear safety and radioactive waste management in Cyprus. In accordance with relevant legislation the Radiation Inspection and Control Service (RICS) has been set up within the Department of Labour Inspection.
No individual is allowed to manufacture, possess, store, use, import, dispose etc. of any source of ionizing radiation in Cyprus without having obtained RICS authorisation upon written request.
On an international level, Cyprus has also ratified or signed several international Conventions or Agreements relating to nuclear safety, while all EU international commitments automatically apply to Cyprus as the country is an EU Member State.
Nature and wildlife
The Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment is responsible for the protection of nature and wildlife. The main Act that provides for the protection and management of nature and wildlife (Act 153(Ι)/2003), along with all European and International Environmental Treaties, as well as the supervision and application of European environmental laws constitute the main activities of the Nature Protection Sector. The Nature Protection Sector is responsible, among others, for the management of the Natura 2000 Network, the protection of fauna in Cyprus and the application of International Treaties relating to nature.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.
Climate and atmosphere
Issuing a Permit for Gaseous Waste Emissions to any industrial facilities is done in accordance with the relevant legislation procedures. Specific types of businesses of large and potentially polluting capacity, are defined as licensed premises and must ensure they obtain appropriate permit.
The licensed premises must submit an application, which is reviewed by the Technical Committee for the Protection of the Environment. In granting the license specific conditions for the operation of the facility are drawn up, such as the requirement to install pollution control devices.
Interested parties must submit a written statement prior to the commencement of any work on the use of ionizing radiation and then an application, using the special forms issued by the Radiation Inspection and Control Service of the Department of Labour Inspection, along with all the information and data required to issue the permit.
Waste disposal permits are granted to facilities that could potentially pollute water and land. The facilities that should obtain a permit include industries, stockbreeding units, waste management facilities, slaughterhouses, olive presses, quarries, etc. The Pollution Sector examines applications and prepares the relevant draft Permits.
Waste management permits are granted to ensure correct management and regulation of waste management facilities. The Waste Disposal Department of the Environment Sector processes applications for the recording of waste production.
- With regard to the import or export of certain harmful chemical products the Department of Labour Inspection should be kept informed. The Department takes appropriate action depending on the case and it collects all relevant information. In some cases of harmful chemicals a permit is issued for the export of the chemical substances in question.
Water and land
The Pollution Department of the Environment Sector carries out inspections to examine whether Waste Disposal Permit terms are met as well as to ascertain compliance with the laws on Water and Land Pollution Control and Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control.
In addition, it monitors and records the quality of disposals in water by various facilities, such as urban waste processing stations, industrial waste, etc.
The ChemicalSubstances Sector of the Department of Labour Inspection undertakes inspections for the proper packaging and labelling of chemical products, the access by employees to Safety Data Sheets and the compliance with the prohibitions or severe restrictions imposed on the creation, import and export of chemical products in the Cypriot market.
Climate and atmosphere
The Department of Labour Inspection periodically monitors emissions from industrial installations with the help of the Mobile Gas Emission Measurement Units.
Monitoring of gas emissions of large industrial plants is also carried out by competent Inspectors through checking the results of emission measurements and the requirement for continuous emission measurements is included in the operating conditions specified in the relevant gas emission permits.
The Environment Sector of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment utilises its own inspection system to control carbon dioxide emissions in the framework of the Directive on the greenhouse gas trading system and the application of environmental measures to coordinate environmental programmes. It also oversees the implementation and coordination of EU environmental policies and legislation.