Everyone bears individual responsibility on single use plastics, head of the European representation in Cyprus Ierotheos Papadopoulos has said, adding that if the matter is not regulated on a voluntary basis then the state should step in and impose measures.
Papadopoulos was speaking on Thursday night after a meeting with a delegation of the Cyprus Greens – Citizens Cooperation Movement headed by its President Giorgos Perdikis.
He made special reference to single use plastics. “It is one of the issues Cyprus has and it is an issue about which each citizen could make a difference with his behaviour.
“People should be informed properly, so that everyone can realise that they bear responsibility as an individual. Everyone should change their daily habits where they can.
“However, it is my opinion that where there can be no results on a voluntary basis, the state should impose measures.
“It is shocking for someone who visits Cyprus for the first time to see so much waste of plastic,” he said referring to plastic cups and glasses.
Asked about EU legislation which seeks to diminish single use plastics, Papadopoulos said that “it refers to items such as plastic straws and cotton buds but also a great part of it has to do with fishing tools.”
“Fishing tools constitute 27 per cent of total plastics polluting the sea,” he said, adding that “fishermen should know that they need to throw their fishing tools in the right place in order for them to be recycled.”
He spoke of the importance of raising awareness, adding at the same time that targeted action needed to take place.
“If the matter is self-regulated so much the better, but experience shows that in most cases citizens will act as they should only if a financial measure is in place.” He gave the example of a charge on plastic bags which was introduced in Cyprus in 2018 since when their use in supermarkets has dramatically fallen.
The European Commission runs campaigns centrally very often, but every country can have targeted actions based on its own circumstances, he explained.
For his part, Perdikis said the discussion which took place was “very interesting and constructive about Cyprus’ responsibilities and the European Commission’s role in enhancing environmentally friendly policies.
“We will continue our cooperation particularly during this year which is crucial on many international and local environmental matters,” he said.