By Natassa Demetriou (Y13), prospective student of Journalism
The International School of Paphos students have once again come to the aid of the community in an effort to help replant the Argaka forest that was sadly burnt last summer. The task seemed difficult at first for just 67 students but with much enthusiasm and energy, an impressive 220 trees were planted.
We met with Mr Zaharias Fillipou and Mr Michalis Spyrou, representatives of the Cyprus Forestry Department, in order to get some answers about the damage that was inflicted on the forest by the fire. They explained that the fire was caused by human negligence, after a resident of Argaka was torching his field to clear it of dried weeds and that in just six hours, seven square kilometers were destroyed in its path.
The Forestry Department hopes in the near future to replant the whole of the Argaka Forest and bring it back to its original beauty. However, this may take a long time. As Mr. Fillipou explained, it all depends on the weather conditions, but according to the Cyprus climate, it could take somewhere between 50 and 70 years for the complete revival of the forest. This scheme, aside from the labor intensity it demands, has also proven to be very costly, as about 3-4 million euros are estimated to be needed to pay for labour, water pipes, machinery, tree saplings etc.
Mr. Fillipou and Mr. Spyrou have expressed their huge gratitude to both the teachers and the students of The International School of Paphos, as they explained that 95% of the work to replant the forest has been carried out by individual volunteers as well as voluntary organisations. They added that if anyone is interested in volunteering for this replantation scheme, they should contact the Cyprus Forestry Department (Tel. 1407).
We often assume that voluntary work involves aiding a charitable organization, but through such schemes, we can all help and give back to our community, while we are also leaving a positive mark for the next generation. So why not get out and help revive our island’s natural beauty? It all depends on us!