Five coastal companies have been awarded for their sustainable practices and tackling marine plastic pollution following a competition under the Zero Waste Beach programme, an initiative of the Project and Research Centre Akti and the Coca-Cola Foundation.
The aim of the competition was to highlight the sustainable practices of coastal businesses to effectively reduce their plastic waste.
The Zero Waste Beach Awards 2018 were handed out by Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis during a ceremony at the Leventis Art Gallery.
In his speech, Kadis referred among other things to his ministry’s intention to proceed with the complete ban on plastic bags after the great public interest shown in reducing the use of plastic bags at supermarkets and other stores, which had led to a reduction of more than 80 per cent.
He added that his ministry is carrying out information and public awareness campaigns on the problem of marine waste through the MELTEMI research project. He also said that the agriculture ministry is head of 13 partner countries in the Interreg Med Blueislands Programme, which aims to manage common challenges that Mediterranean islands face, such as rational management of natural resources, waste and sustainable tourism.
Measurements and recordings made under that programme showed that the percentage of plastic discharged into the sea and on beaches doubled during the tourist season while beach sand samples showed the presence of microplastics. For Cyprus, measurement of sand samples showed the presence of about 17 microplastic objects per kilo of sand.
Kadis also said that the problem of marine plastic pollution is one of the largest facing the planet today.
He said that 90 per cent of rubbish in the seas and oceans is plastic, which remain in the marine environment and enter the human food chain through fish consumption. He added that disposable plastics, such as drinking cups, straws, plates and cutlery are the objects that most often appear on the beaches and account for about half of the marine litter.
The reduction in the consumption of disposable plastics, he added, “is a priority for the protection of the marine environment”.
President of the Board of Akti Xenia Loizidou said that the results of the actions developed under the Zero Waste Beach will be the basis for policy development and the implementation of further targeted actions. The goal of the organisers, she said, was to make the awards a yearly institution.
The Sustainability Award was given to Kanika Hotels & Resorts Group of six hotels: Alexander the Great Beach Hotel (Paphos), Elias Beach Hotel (Limassol), Olympic Lagoon Resorts (Ayia Napa), Olympic Bay (Ayia Napa), Olympic Lagoon Resort (Paphos) and Amavi Hotel (Paphos).
The Environmental Responsibility Award was given to Atlantica Sungarden Hotel (Ayia Napa).
The Social Responsibility Award was given to Ocean Basket Group, consisting of ten restaurants, in all the cities of Cyprus, with four of them, located in coastal areas (Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, Ayia Napa).
Ammos Beach Bar (Larnaca) and Aquamare Beach Hotel & Spa (Paphos) received commendations.
The Municipality of Geroskipou, the Kissonerga Community Council and the Green Point of Koloni in Paphos were also awarded for their support of the Zero Waste Beach programme’s actions.
In total, 54 coastal businesses applied to participate in the competition.