Hundreds of tonnes of waste collected
The 24th of October is a day dedicated to the Mediterranean coasts, as decided by the United Nations as well as the European Union. However, the terrifying reality cannot be hidden beneath the warm and blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Plastic waste is “suffocating” the oceans and the Mediterranean, and the Cypriot seabed is no exception. Unfortunately, the coastal areas of Cyprus are burdened by the fact that our neighbouring countries are not bound by EU legislation, which sets out specific procedures and rules on waste management.
As things stand today, mobilising and taking collective action in order to tackle the problem is no longer a matter of choice, but a one-way street. Plastic pollution is threatening marine life and human health. Government action is not enough. Each and every one of us have to take action and mobilise the people around us for the same purpose. This was the main idea behind the pioneering Zero Waste Beach project by AKTI Project and Research Centre and Coca‑Cola Cyprus, with the support of the Coca‑Cola Foundation, which was first launched last year:
- Raising public awareness on the matter of marine plastic pollution
- Reducing waste ending up in Cyprus’ shores
- Promoting the adoption of innovative and sustainable practices by coastal businesses, local authorities and the wider public,
- Establishing annual clean-up campaigns, with the participation of coastal businesses, schools and volunteers, including Lanitis Bros. staff,
- Identifying and recording the recyclable waste produced by coastal businesses.
The project is currently in its second year of implementation. This year, the project organised 18 coastal clean-ups and 10 deep-sea clean-ups, while 540 volunteers and 18 local authorities participated in the whole effort. The volunteers managed to collect two tonnes of waste during the coastal and deep-sea clean-ups. The vast majority of rubbish was retrieved from the seabed by 75 volunteer divers. Specifically, 1,600 kilos of waste were retrieved from the seabed, while another 220 kilos were collected in coastal clean-ups.
It should be noted that 10 deep-sea clean-ups were sponsored by the sale of the collectible, Coca‑Cola and Coca‑Cola Zero glass bottles. Coca‑Cola donated 15% of its net profit from the sale of its collectible summer bottles, raising 15 thousand euros to support the Project.
Beyond the clean-ups, 50 PMD recycling bins were donated to coastal tourist areas in Paphos, as part of the “On-the-go recycling” project and initiative, which aims to encourage local authorities and communities to reduce their plastic waste and improve their collection and recycling infrastructure. In the space of just three months, five tonnes of waste were collected and recycled through the 50 PMD recycling bins.
The results of the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network’s activities were also very impressive, as 531 tonnes of recyclable waste were collected by the companies participating in the Network.
This year’s events and activities in the framework of the Zero Waste Beach project, will culminate with the recognition of the Champions of the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network, on 7 November 2018. These are businesses that have been following the most sustainable practices according to specific criteria. 221 companies, which are members of the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network are participating in the competition. The awards ceremony for Zero Waste Beach Champions 2019 will be held under the auspices of the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, while the Minister of Agriculture, Agricultural Development and Environment Costas Kadis will also be gracing the ceremony with his presence.