By Annette Chrysostomou
Around 80 per cent of litter in the sea originates from land-based sources, Xenia Loizidou from Akti research centre said on Tuesday during an event aimed at fighting pollution from plastics.
“The plastic from bags never disappears,” she said, “it just turns into microplastics. They slowly fill the stomachs of marine animals which then have the feeling their stomach is full. They starve to death because they stop eating.”
She was speaking during the first ‘Beyond Plastic Litter Champion’ award ceremony, to recognise sustainable practices implemented by beach bars and beach restaurants in Cyprus, which took place aboard the vessel Doremi.
The vessel left Phinikoudes pier at 11am and returned at 1pm, after it took the participants on a mini cruise along Larnaca’s coastline while Akti Project and Research Centre announced the winners of the competition, in which around 60 establishments participated.
Ammos beach bar located at Mackenzie beach won the top award and an additional innovation award for its practice ‘straws made from baked pasta’. This is just one of the many practices of the bar aimed at changing awareness, one of the owners, Tonia Kyriakou, said.
“We want to slowly replace everything made from plastic,” she explained. “We will also give a free beverage to those who clean the beach and bring us a bag full of rubbish. Our take-away boxes are already made of paper and recyclable.”
‘Supporting local producers through collaboration with the Co-op green cluster platform’ was the project with which the Deck Beach Bar won the environmental responsibility award. This is done by supporting microproducers, companies with less than five employees. For example, the bar buys its wine and many other products from such small producers.
Another award, for environmental sustainability, was presented to Paradisos Beach venue in Ayia Napa for its practice ‘Daily beach clean-ups for 20 years’. They have cleaned up the beach in front of their building for that long.
Bonamare Beach bar café was also given an environmental sustainability award for ‘Hiring local staff’ as they hire only staff from the area near their establishment.
Socrates Beach restaurant and Bonamare Beach bar café were awarded for donating used cooking oil to schools. Instead of collecting the oil and selling it as is common practice, they give it to the schools for free, from where it is collected by Akti, turned into biodiesel and sold. The money is then returned to the schools which use it to finance more green projects.
The competition was an initiative of Akti Project and Research Centre in collaboration with the Pancyprian Association of Entertainment Venue Owners (Pasika).
The initiative is being implemented within the framework of the ‘fighting plastic pollution in Cyprus: the responsible beach bars initiative’ project funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
For more information on the Akti Project and Research Centre visit www.akti.corg.cy