On Saturday, 31 August, 25 volunteers from the AKTI Project & Research Centre and the diving organisation “I DIVE” participated in a coastal and seabed clean-up at Sirena Bay in Protaras, and managed to collect waste weighing a total of 865kg.

This action against marine plastic pollution is part of the ground-breaking “Zero Waste Beach” programme, which is implemented by AKTI Project & Research Centre and Coca‑Cola HBC Cyprus with the financial support of the Coca‑Cola Foundation of Atlanta, and which has five objectives. Specifically, the programme aims to reduce waste that ends up in coastal or marine areas of the island, to promote innovative and sustainable practices to coastal businesses, local authorities and the public, to establish annual clean-up campaigns, to identify and at the same time create a record of the recyclable waste produced by coastal businesses.

The clean-up at Sirena Bay lasted 30 minutes, while the volunteers collected a total of 1,000 pieces of rubbish weighing 865kg. AKTI and Coca‑Cola HBC Cyprus plan to carry out an additional five simultaneous beach and seabed clean-ups in Limassol, Paphos, Ayia Napa and Protaras. It is worth noting that by the end of August, a total of 18 beach and 5 seabed clean-ups were carried out, with the participation of 520 volunteers and 17 local authorities, while a total of 18,900 pieces of rubbish weighing over 1.5 tonnes have been collected.

The Chairwoman of AKTI’s Board of Directors, Xenia Loizidou, highlighted the results of the coastal and seabed clean-ups that have been carried out so far, which demonstrate the real magnitude of the problem. “The waste that filled the Cypriot seas came from the land and people are to blame. We are the ones who create this problem, and only we can solve it, either through volunteer work or by integrating environmentally-responsible practices into our daily lives”.

Coca‑Cola’s support for the programme is part of the company’s vision for “A World Without Waste”.
Part of the revenue from the Coca‑Cola and Coca‑Cola Zero bottles this year went towards the programme. Specifically, this summer, Coca‑Cola donated 15% of its net proceeds from the sale of the collectible glass bottle to the clean-up of 10 beaches and their seabed, thereby supporting the “Zero Waste Beach” project.

In addition to beach and seabed clean-ups, this past August, another 50 PMD recycling bins were installed in Paphos. Specifically, the bins were placed on two coastal sidewalks, 25 in Geroskipou Municipality and another 25 in the Kissonerga community. Another 50 bins were installed last year in other areas of Paphos.

The aim is to collect plastic bottles/containers, metallic and paper packaging that will be transferred to the Green Point at Paphos’ waste disposal plant (XYTA), where members of the AKTI Project and Research Centre will separate and record them by source.

The aim of placing PMD recycling bins on coastal sidewalks and public coastal areas is to encourage local communities and authorities to focus on the collection and recycling of plastic waste, and on the improvement of the infrastructure for waste collection, while at the same time develop actions aimed at reducing their use.