The project of the New Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant, a bicommunal venture, demonstrates how joint, consensual decisions can take shape and work to the benefit of both communities on the island, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle has stressed.
“I am told that this is the biggest wastewater treatment plant on the whole island, incorporating the latest technology in the field. This in itself is a major achievement but it is about much more than this,” he said in a speech at the opening of the plant.
Füle noted that `local leaders of the two communities have succeeded in putting the needs of the population first to solve the sewage problems of the Greater Nicosia Area`.
`I strongly commend their commitment. Faced with the alternative of going their separate ways, they have worked relentlessly for over a decade to pursue this new project for the common treatment of Nicosia`s wastewater`, he noted.
Füle said he was `glad that the European Commission has actively supported this project from its very inception by fully financing the design of the new plant and 30% of its construction` and noted that `this new plant benefits the environment as well as human health by protecting drinking and bathing waters from contamination`.
`On top of that, its state of the art technology will give 10 million cubic meters of treated water per year a second life through irrigation. This can promote economic activity to the benefit of all`, Fule pointed out.
He added that `side-products of the waste water treatment can be converted into renewable energy and fertilizers, thus substantially reducing its environmental footprint.”
Füle noted that `it is great to see that the full benefits of this plant are being reaped thanks to continuing bi-communal cooperation` and said he was `pleased that the European Commission is also providing support for the design of the new phase to enable full reuse of the treated wastewater`.
`This project demonstrates how joint, consensual decisions can take shape and work to the benefit of both communities`, he said.
Furthermore, he expressed his `sincere appreciation to all the people who have played an important part in this project` and thanked `the United Nations Development Programme for their work in helping the two communities in realising their dream of a new bi-communal plant for Nicosia`, noting that `the new plant demonstrates once more the long-standing and fruitful cooperation between the Commission and the UNDP`.
Referring to Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkatzis and `mayor` of the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia Kadri Fellahoglu, as well as their predecessors, he thanked them `for their leadership and unwavering commitment to cooperation`.
Addressing them, Füle said `you are an inspiring example for others of what can be achieved when you accept today`s challenges and transform them into opportunities and practical solutions`.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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