A new campaign backed by tourism businesses and local municipalities aimed at eradicating single-use plastic from coastal areas was announced by the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI) on Monday.
It starts with the Ayia Napa, Protaras and the wider Famagusta area.
The campaign, Keep Our Sand and Sea Plastic Free, highlights the link between single use plastics – especially from hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés – and beach and marine litter.
It has been created by the TUI Care Foundation, the Travel Foundation and the CSTI and so far has support from the mayors of each of the region’s municipalities: Ayia Napa, Paralimni, Deryneia and Sotira, as well as the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA),the Cyprus Hotel Association (PASYXE), and the University of Nicosia.
At the moment, the initiative is gathering the commitment and support of stakeholders to shape a campaign that will see its launch in November.
“We are proud that the municipalities of the Famagusta region are the spearhead of this initiative. We have beautiful beaches and our marine environment is part of who we are. Together we can do something to show we care. The world is coming to recognise the absurdity of single-use plastics and the seriousness of the threat it poses to marine life. Let’s be among the first to declare our local area a plastic-free zone,” Mayor of Paralimni Theodoros Pyrillis commented.
“We already have a lot of support from hotels, bars and restaurants and other local businesses who want to get ahead of this issue, do the right thing for Cyprus and respond to the growing expectations of customers – local and foreign – who are now questioning the use of pointless plastics,” Chairman of CSTI Philippos Drousiotis explained.
“This campaign is about providing training and advice for businesses, advice for residents and visitors about how they can do their bit, and events such as beach cleans and awareness raising activities.”
According to the announcement, approximately 80 per cent of rubbish collected on Cyprus beaches is plastic waste and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that in high season tourists across the Mediterranean create a 40 per cent increase in marine litter. Plastic litter does not biodegrade and so will remain in the environment for hundreds of years. If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
Tourism businesses have been increasingly engaging with the issue of plastic pollution, recognising they are a significant producer of single-use plastic waste. This campaign will support local hotels, bars and restaurants with training and guidance to find alternatives to purchasing plastic items such as straws, cups, cutlery, bottles, bags and take-away food containers. The project will also raise awareness of the issue of single-use plastics with tourists, residents and school children – with activities such as beach clean ups, competitions, school activity packs and social media events
“The mission is clear and the name speaks for itself: Keep sand and sea plastic free!” the statement concluded.
For more information on how to support the campaign visit: Sandseaplasticfree.org/signup