The major environmental problems in Cyprus are droughts, forest fires, water pollution and shortage, waste, coastal degradation, erosion, and loss of biodiversity. The small size of the island, the dry climate and intense pressures from tourism result in problems highly specific to the country. However, in recent years the state of the environment has improved due to new legislation in the Greek part. The Turkish part shows more environmental problems than the Greek part, although some pressures (e.g. tourism) are less.
- The main air quality issues include control of mobile and stationary air pollution sources, provisions for public information/notification when thresholds are exceeded, establishment of a coordinated monitoring program and assessment of air pollution-related health effects.
- Water quality issues include ground water nitrate contamination from agricultural sources, marine environment pollution and water quality monitoring. Furthermore, Cyprus has to deal with seasonal disparity in rainfall, no natural reservoir catchments, and sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes. All of Cyprus' urban and rural dwellers have access to safe water.
- Waste-related issues for Cyprus include hazardous waste from mining and other industrial operations, solid waste management including both human and animal waste management and waste management policy.
- Another environmental concern is erosion, especially of Cyprus' coastline. In accordance with the Foreshore Protection Law, several coastal areas have been zoned to prevent undesirable development.
- The expansion of urban centers threatens the habitat of Cyrpus' wildlife. As of 1994, one mammal species, 17 types of birds and 43 plant species in a total of 2,000 are threatened with extinction. About 20 species of flora are protected. The Cyprus mouflon is protected. Conservation laws seek to preserve forests, restrict the hunting of wildlife, and maintain environmental health.
- Climate change is having an urgent effect on water levels in Cyprus. Rainfall has decreased by 20% since 1972, and water reservoirs are only at 9% capacity or less. Due to the lack of rainfall, drought and desertification have become significant problems and are impacting agriculture in the once fertile area. Cyprus has been forced to use reservoirs and desalination to provide water to its residents. Groundwater resources are being overexploited mainly for agriculture and domestic use. Being an island Cyprus is also exposed to sea level rise.
Civil society in the Greek Cypriot community has to cope with control from political parties, and clientilistic relationships between political parties and citizens. The Greek Cypriots tend to think that almost everything has a political cause and that is the role of politicians to deal with almost all issues facing society. Political power, as exercised by the state and political parties, therefore assumes a hegemonic role, controlling not only the economy but also society at large, as is evident in education, the media, cultural production and volunteer organisations (mainly charities), and resulting in the underdevelopment of civil society.
The low extent of engagement, both social and political, reflects the presence of a small group of individuals who are active in civil society. Overall, 10.2% of citizens are active members of one or more social CSO and 11.7% are active members of one or more political CSO. A majority of people believe that civil society played a moderate or significant role in the protection of the environment.
According to OECD there are only 3 environmental taxes in Cyprus, 2 regarding fuel and vehicles, and 1 regarding the use of natural resources. There are also 4 environmentally motivated subsidies, with the purpose to: reduce CO2 emissions by providing incentives to consumers to buy environmentally friendly vehicles; provide grants for mitigation of environmental damages caused by quarrying; stimulate industries and service sector to invest in cleaner production technologies and provide incentives for investments in energy savings and alternative energy sources.
- The Energy Efficiency National Action Plan 2007 aims at implementation of certain measures in households, industry, and transportation in order to minimize energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. There are certain measures applied regarding the promotion of Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Saving Mechanisms, as well as horizontal measures such as educational programs, awareness campaigns, etc.
- The Renewable Energy Sources National Action Plan 2010 – 2020
- The Integrated Mobility Master Plan (2011) aims at increasing 10% of public transport by 2020
- The National Action Plan for Green Public Procurements: Resource efficiency is tackled through a number of measures including purchasing of green products. Aims at increasing environmental criteria for public purchasing in order to minimize environmental impacts and increase financial sustainability. The GPP Action Plan is about promoting green products and services in government.
- The National Strategy for the update of management processes of Municipal Solid Wastes until 2020 aims at reducing waste and increasing waste recovery and recycling.
- Action Plan for the support of Public Transportation aims at minimizing fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions and increasing resource efficiency.
- Waste Management Strategy aims at the promotion of recycling and recovery and sets the basis for waste prevention.
- Measures for water efficiency
When assessing CSR in this society one has to note that, according to official figures, 95% of all enterprises in Cyprus employ less than 10 persons and 99% employ less than 250 persons. In essence, the economy of the island is dominated by very small units and ‘corporations’ are few. This feature of the economy has obvious implications for the way CSR is understood and practiced. To put it simply, CSR presupposes corporations and corporations are few in the country.
CSR in the context of northern Cyprus may seem to be an insignificant issue, since the ‘public’ sector is relatively large in the overall economy, and there are very few large corporations or industry. However, in recent years local corporations have been developing with unprecedented levels of economic growth.
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