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Every city needs a ‘friend’ that cares

feature paul main cfc members with one of their modern waste management trucks (christos theodorides)
CFC members with one of their modern waste management trucks (Christos Theodorides)
A Limassol-based organisation, armed with all the right equipment and work ethic, is leading the way in waste collection

As a non-governmental organisation dedicated to keeping our cities and neighbourhoods clean, the newly founded City Friends Club has been actively involved in daily clean-ups, working with volunteers, and raising public awareness through various projects and initiatives.

feature paul city friends club founder anna gubareva (christos theodorides)
City Friends Club founder Anna Gubareva (Christos Theodorides)

“Our mission is to introduce and support efficient waste collection infrastructure in Limassol and its surroundings, to encourage eco-friendly practices, and to reduce future waste pollution in Cyprus,” says the organisation’s founder, Anna Gubareva. “We are constructing a waste-collection infrastructure that we believe is desperately needed in Cyprus.”

Russian-born Anna Gubareva has been a resident of Cyprus for over two decades, utilising her skills as a professional art therapist, integrating the fields of human development, visual arts, and the creative process with models of counselling and psychotherapy through her work.

“For the past four years, I have primarily focused on human ecology and the importance of interacting with our own environment,” Anna told the Cyprus Mail. “A clean environment is essential for living a healthy lifestyle.”

According to Anna, the importance of a clean environment inspired the City Friends Club to create a hub where like-minded people and organisations could meet and collaborate on making a bigger impact that will help create an eco-friendly future, while also adopting smarter solutions that help reduce waste within the community.

The strategy of the City Friends Club does not intend to rely solely on businesses, communities and individuals assisting with daily clean-up campaigns and educating the community on how to live sustainably. The organisation also aims to raise environmental consciousness through schools in the future. “However, our focus at the moment is Cyprus, and Limassol in particular,” explains Anna. “It is critical to begin in our own backyard and work our way out. Although environmental issues are important, our team wants to focus on the individual and their unique approach to being waste conscious in their own environment.”

City Friends Club wholeheartedly believes that parents play a critical role in providing a fun learning environment for children, instilling basic universal values as early as possible, including responsibility for one’s waste production. “When children begin to implement waste handling practices taught to them by their parents on a daily basis, those practices will become second nature to them.”

Recognising that plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water is increasing rapidly and may more than double by 2030, City Friends Club is promoting responsible consumption, and a zero waste lifestyle. “Recycling is not the most effective way to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. The organisation advises people on how to make wasteless choices, including reuse and repurpose, through our social media channels,” Anna explains.

The organisation has acquired the right equipment, which will improve City Friends Club’s productivity, efficiency and future growth, as well as assist them in achieving their goals of a cleaner and safer Cyprus for both locals and visitors. “Our modern waste collection trucks have a compactor that crushes and compacts waste. We have all of the necessary tools for collecting rubbish on a daily basis from the streets and other difficult-to-reach areas.”

After the waste is collected by City Friends Club’s trucks, it is separated into plastic, aluminum, and other recyclable materials; a small portion of the waste is then sent to a solid waste treatment facility, such as a landfill.

Anna and her team of eco-activists have planned to build a library of knowledge that will create awareness effectively throughout Cyprus, educating local communities on the importance of sustainable consumption and production. The organisation’s current focus is on expanding their social media channels and projects aimed at promoting environmentally friendly and conscious lifestyles among Limassol residents. As part of their ongoing initiatives, City Friends Club has acquired equipment that can effectively remove illegal graffiti off public walls, and create an open air canvas for street artists to create approved works of art. Other initiatives include the reduction of the volume of waste within the coffee industry, and the development of an online platform where visitors can find all the necessary information about waste disposal and an eco-conscious lifestyle in Cyprus’ second largest city.

When it comes to Gen Zs, City Friends Club has recognised the importance of a mascot, not only as a symbol of luck, moreover a ‘humanised’ character that conveys company messages to its younger environmentalists. The friendly mascot, shaped like the letter “C,” reflects the organisation’s goals, which are centred on community, commitment, care and cleanliness for the city, and will play an important role in the club’s social media and digital content.

Surrounded by old buildings and factories, the industrial area in which City Friends Club is located will soon undergo rapid gentrification, transforming the area into a modern cultural and business hub of Limassol. Similarly, Anna and her team are excited to be a part of the island’s environmental transformation, lending a helping hand as a friendly neighbourhood city clean-up organisation, one that cares for Cyprus’ sustainable future.

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