Plans to move char­coal fur­naces cause up­roar

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL char­coal fur­naces near Güze­lyurt may be moved to Yıl­mazköy, un­der plans re­vealed this week to up­roar from lo­cal res­i­dents.

The fur­naces be­ing moved to a site be­low the up­per part of the vil­lage, be­neath the area’s Atatürk statue, will be con­verted to a mod­ern, new smoke­less char­coal-pro­duc­tion sys­tem, Güze­lyurt District Of­fice an­nounced in a bid to al­lay pub­lic con­cerns.

The of­fice is to meet En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and Forestry of­fi­cials to dis­cuss the ini­tia­tive, which it then aims to take to min­is­ters for ap­proval.

But an­gry Yil­mazköy res­i­dents told re­porters they were ve­he­mently op­posed to the busi­ness — known as “gami­nis” and cur­rently be­lieved to num­ber 10 to 12 — re­lo­cat­ing near their homes and would demon­strate to stop it.

Vil­lager Mehmet Şahin said of­fi­cials had pre­vi­ously pro­posed to move the fur­naces, in their up­dated, smoke­less form, to land be­hind the Mid­dle Eastern Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity (Metu) cam­pus.

“Now say that they will be moved to Yıl­mazköy be­cause if any prob­lem arises it could leave Metu un­der a pall of smoke,” he said.

Eyüp Köse added: “But what about us? Wouldn’t that af­fect us too?”

Güze­lyurt District Of­fi­cer Savaş Orakçıoğlu said once the new ovens were set up, old-style ex­ist­ing ones in Güze­lyurt would be re­moved.

Er­can Poyraz, di­rec­tor of the Forestry De­part­ment which has the author­ity to is­sue per­mits for the fur­naces, said he ex­pected any de­ci­sion by the three depart­ments to be im­ple­mented within a month.

Doğan Sahir, head of the Green Ac­tion Group, ex­pressed scep­ti­cism, say­ing it was just a ploy to move the fur­naces closer to re­main­ing wood­land.

“Due to the lack of plan­ning [here] we have be­come a coun­try with few wooded ar­eas . . . There is no proper pol­icy re­gard­ing what type of wood will be burned . . . [and] as long as we don’t have a proper pol­icy noth­ing will change.”

The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had last De­cem­ber or­dered the clo­sure of “gami­nis” in an anti-pol­lu­tion drive, but the de­ci­sion was re­scinded by the cur­rent coali­tion in April.

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