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80 per cent of rubbish on Cyprus beaches is plastic

Costal rubbish in Ayia Napa.

Every minute about 33,800 objects of plastic waste end up in the waters of the Mediterranean while about 80 per cent of the waste collected on the beaches of Cyprus is plastic, coordinator of the project Keep our Sand and Sea Plastic Free Panayiota Koutsofta said on Monday.

The goal of the project is for the Famagusta district to become a shining example for the reduction of disposable plastic and to become a source of inspiration for other coastal cities of Cyprus, she said.

On the occasion of the placement of the whale sculpture ‘Evdokia’, made by students of the Paralimni high school for the campaign, in which plastic waste from the Ayia Napa beach can be placed, Koutsofta noted that “raising public awareness about marine litter is a very important issue for which the European Union itself is taking action, with the aim of reducing pollution from plastics and especially disposable plastics.

“From 2021, the gradual abolition of disposable plastics that have alternatives such as cutlery, straws, plastic swabs and more will begin,” she said.

The project, she explained, aims to support hotels, bars and restaurants in the area through training and guidance to find alternatives to the use of plastic products such as straws, cups, cutlery, bottles, bags and food containers.

“Everyone needs to contribute and take responsibility for tackling plastic pollution of the seas,” the project coordinator said.

“It is now known that the World Economic Forum warns that if we continue to dispose of plastics at the same rate, our seas by 2050 will contain more plastic than fish.”

If the current situation continues, Koutsofta added, it is estimated that by 2025 the seas will contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish.

Keep our Sand and Sea Plastic Free is an initiative of the TUI Care Foundation in collaboration with the Travel Foundation and the Cyprus Association for Sustainable Tourism (CSTI), with the aim of eliminating disposable plastics in coastal areas, starting from Ayia Napa, Protaras and the wider area of Famagusta, with special emphasis on the tourism industry.

Related projects have been carried out elsewhere in Cyprus’ coastal towns. Other ‘recycler fishes’ can be found on the beaches of Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca.

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