At 3pm on Sunday February 18, the sun shone brightly over Kato Paphos, and the streets were lined with thousands of spectators eagerly awaiting the Carnival parade.
This was the first time that I had ever seen the Carnival Parade and I was most impressed to see that the local population was present, either supporting the parade, or taking part.
The carnival was a huge success, and was very colourful, and represented a very large number of local social and sports groups, and clubs and activities attended by children. Colourful helium filled balloons were on sale, ice cream vendors were present, and candy floss was available to purchase as well. There was a truly enjoyable seaside-resort atmosphere.
However, as a visitor from the UK to Paphos I was most dismayed that the spectators left behind tons of rubbish that then had to be cleaned up by the local authority, at, no doubt, great cost.
It has become a tradition, it seems, to throw paper streamers at the floats, and the participants in the parade, or to spray them with string shooters or with spray guns.
I was standing next to one family who had brought with them three very large plastic bags of such items that they had full intention of throwing at the passing parade. Most of the items fell short of the participants, straight onto the pavement and road. When spray cans were empty they were just dropped onto the road and left. No effort was made by anyone to tidy up after themselves. By the end of the parade the rubbish near myself, from just one family, was, ankle deep.
Now it seems to me that it would be far better not to purchase items to throw, but to spend a similar amount on making donations to the funds of the best floats and the best participants in the parade, by dropping coins into official collection buckets accompanying the parade. This would direct a considerable amount of funds to worthy local interest groups, and would save money being spent on cleaning the streets afterwards.
A further cause of concern to me was that I witnessed that some of the younger participants in the parade, aged less than five, were being sprayed by older children who were no further than a metre away. The young children looked frightened and confused.
Let’s civilise the carnival, by keeping the streets as litter free as possible, and by keeping the youngsters happy and safe from worry.
Rita Vaughan, UK resident and visitor to Cyprus