The opinions of the residents of Limassol on important environmental issues were collected by the municipality of Limassol and Frederick University and presented recently at the first annual Blue Limassol Forum, during which the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.
As the Blue Limassol Forum initiative developed, ascertaining the opinions of citizens regarding sustainability of the environment was considered critical to provide insights regarding concerns and priorities. A structured questionnaire was designed, and the survey was conducted online over the week preceding the Blue Limassol Forum.
Over 500 people participated in the survey with about two thirds of the sample being over the age of 30. Gender representation was almost equal, while three quarters of the participants live or work in Limassol. The academic profile of the respondents was impressive, with nearly 50 per cent holding postgraduate (40.9 per cent) or doctorate (8.7 per cent) degrees.
The survey revealed that the main priority with respect to major coastal environmental concerns is improving the quality of coastal waters, followed by improving the beaches. The finding is consistent with the view that the main perceived benefit of a well-functioning eco-system for Limassoleans is the facilitation of aquatic recreational activities.
Limassol beaches were described as “average” in terms of safety and cleanliness, while hotels, commercial ships and the sewerage system were identified as the main source of pollution on coastal waters and beaches. An emerging trend among participants’ beliefs was the newly perceived threat of tall buildings affecting the marine ecosystems of Limassol. Equally important, lack of citizen awareness was identified as a major threat to the local marine ecosystems. The need for increased environmental awareness appears to be strengthened amid the Covid-19 pandemic.