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Applied Environmental Research

AKTI implements environmental research based on the Cyprus’s context, scale and particularities aiming to provide answers and tangible solutions to the island’s environmental challenges. It also transfers good practices that are applied abroad and pilot tests while adjusting them to the Cyprus needs.

Zero Waste Future program in CY and MA: Zero Waste Beach in Cyprus and Zero Waste Cities and Zero Waste Campus programs in Malta

Marine litter is an environmental, economic as well as human health problem with no simple solution. It poses a global, complex and multi-dimensional challenge with significant implications for the marine and coastal environment and human activities all over the world. Recovery and recycling of the most common marine litter items, are important steps in halting the inflow of items into the marine environment and are also critical first steps in promoting the Circular Economy. Recovery and recycling are particularly critical in island countries, such as Cyprus and Malta.

To address the problems outlined above, the initiative proposed here aims to engage citizens, students, local authorities and businesses to take ownership of the environment they spend most time in so as to increase recycling and decrease land and marine litter, using the “producer responsibility” mentality, but through soft, awareness-raising and participatory measures.

 

Activities for Cyprus:

 

🎥 General Actions_Total Results (video_en)

🎥 General Actions_Total Results (video_gr)

📈Infographic_Total Results (2018-2020) (pdf_gr)

 

1️⃣.  Strengthened and expanded the «Responsible Coastal Businesses Network»: to 204 members, through the implementation of an extensive awareness-raising campaign, targeting all coastal businesses on the island. In these campaigns, AKTI’s staff have been liaised with approximately 610 business owners/managers/employees, informing them about marine litter (sources and impacts) as well as about the upcoming European legislation on single-use plastics and how it affects them and assisting them in implementing practices that will minimize their plastic production and thus minimize the potential for marine plastic pollution from their operations and their customers’ activities. The involvement of local authority representatives has added particular clout to this activity.

❓ HOW and WHY to join the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network_EN_(pdf)

❓ HOW and WHY to join the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network_GR_(pdf)

The Responsible Coastal Businesses Network is visible on this Map

To provide inspiration, a Decalogue and a Guide were developed during the last year implementation of the project and distributed to the Coastal Businesses. Decalogue contained 10 basic possible good practices and the Guide contained examples of these good practices in order to inspire the applicants and encourage them to act against plastic pollution and generally for a more green performance of their businesses.

An electronic version of these, are available here:

✅ Decalogue_gr

✅ Decalogue_en

✅ Examples of Good Practices_gr

 

2️⃣.  Tracked and recorded recycling waste from the Responsible Coastal Businesses: The members of the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network ought, as a mandatory term of their network membership, to record the amount of recyclable waste (PMD, glass, general) that they dispose. 916.16 tons of recycling waste collected by the responsible coastal businesses throughout the duration of the project. This has been monitored with regular visits by AKTI’s group of experts, who also provided their suggestions on how the business can become more effective in recycling. In this way, they will be able to set goals and monitor their reduction in the long run, as a result of the implementation of plastic reducing practices.

 

3️⃣.  Beach cleanups in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup: AKTI implemented annual beach cleanups on selected beaches with the collaboration of the Responsible Coastal Businesses, local authorities, schools, and volunteers. 18 beach and 10 seabed cleanups were implemented, with the participation of 540 volunteers at beach cleanups and 75 divers in seabed cleanups, including 105 students and representatives of 18 local authorities.

AKTI is the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup of the Ocean Conservancy in Cyprus. Therefore, all the cleanups implemented using the International Coastal Cleanup Protocol. The data included in the Regional Marine Litter Database and has also be submitted to the ICC. Over 20.000 litter items were collected, weighing approximately 2 tons.

📸🌊Some photos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups, are available here: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5

🎥🌊Some Videos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups:

video 1___video 2___video 3___video 4___video 5
video 6___video 7___video 8___video 9___video 10

 

4️⃣.  On-the-go recycling through bins on coastal walkways and public coastal spaces: 50 specially designed on-the-go-recycling bins, for PMD collection, have been donated to 2 Local Authorities (Geroskipou Municipality & Kissonerga Community Council) and installed over 5 km of coastal pedestrian roads. Collected 22.4 tons of recyclable waste from these bins, within a period of eight months. The aim was to encourage local authorities and communities to improve collection infrastructure and implement reduction actions for plastics used. Source identification activity was performed for this action. More specifically, AKTI’s staff separated the collected waste per source, to create an innovative database with data that can be used for directing budget to the management of the most frequent litter.

📸♻️More information and photos about “On-the-go recycling” research action, can be found here.

 

5️⃣.   Α Competition for the implementation of sustainable practices to reduce marine litter, and especially plastics, was launched and implemented. The Competition targeted members of the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network, in an attempt to promote sustainable practices incorporated by coastal businesses in their operation, and to minimize plastic waste entering the coastal and marine environment, thus mitigating/reducing the pollution they cause. Τhe terms for the participation in the Competition and the application form distributed to the Coastal Businesses along with a Decalogue and a good practices Guide, in order to inspire the applicants and encourage them to act against plastic pollution and generally for a more green performance of their businesses. 224 entries/good practices were received. The entries were evaluated by a five-member independent jury: the Chairperson of Entrepreneurship Council – Center for Entrepreneurship at University of Cyprus, Dr George I. Kassinis, the Public Affairs & Communications Manager at Lanitis Bros LTD, Mrs Kalia Patsia, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of AKTI, Mrs Xenia I. Loizidou, the Media Relations Director at Digital Tree, Mrs Xenia Xenophontos and the Deputy Secretary General of CCCI, Mr Leonidas Paschalidis. The winners were selected by the jury followings a selection process based on 4 criteria: environmental responsibility, social responsibility, innovation and sustainability and the awards are given in two categories, depending on the type – size of the business.

✅ Terms and Conditions_GR

✅ Application Form_GR

 

6️⃣.  A highly publicised Award Ceremony, “Zero Waste Beach Awards 2019”, was implemented at the end of the project. The winners had the title of «Zero Waste Beach Champions 2019». The ceremony took place in November, 7 at Ammos Beach Restobar, in Larnaca. The ceremony was held under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades and attended by over 113 people, including the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Dr. Costas Kadis, NGOs, industry representatives, media (TV, radios and newspapers/e-media) and coastal businesses, The Ceremony was extensively covered by local and national media (TVs, radios and newspapers). The aim of the competition was to highlight the sustainable practices implemented by coastal businesses to effectively reduce their plastic waste and promoted recycling initiatives, proving that every good purpose gets even better with collective action. The Ceremony had a great success with high Media coverage (20 Media covered the Ceremony), publicity and increased participation and all stakeholders gave AKTI very positive feedback!

The awards are given in two categories, depending on the type of the business (large or small businesses) .The six championships were distinguished in the categories of environmental responsibility, sustainability, innovation and social responsibility.

In the category of large businesses:

🏆 Atlantica Santa Napa Hotel received the Environmental Responsibility Award,
🏆 KANIKA HOTELS & RESORTS Group received the Sustainability Award and
🏆 Altantica Sungarden Beach Hotel received the Innovation Award.

In the category of small business:

🏆 Kolonis – Mouttalou Green Spots in Paphos received the Social Responsibility Award,
🏆 The Pafos Coastal Fisheries Association received the Innovation Award while,
🏆 The Sustainability Award was given to the restaurant PAS TO KIMA.

Special medals were also given to representatives of Local Government, Civil Society and volunteers who supported the “Zero Waste Beach” project and its actions:

🏅 the Mayor of Geroskipou, Mr. Michalis Pavlidis,
🏅 the Secretary General of Cymepa, Mr. Michalis Ierides,
🏅 the Secretary of Pervolia Community Council, Mr. Christoforos Panteli,
🏅 the president of Pervolia Community Council, Mr. Mr Costas Tiggis and
🏅 the volunteer diver, Mr. Panagiotis Psomas.

📸Some photos from the Zero Waste Beach Awards, are available here.

🎥Some Videos from the “Zero Waste Beach Awards 2019”:

Video 1___Video 2___Video 3___Video 4



7️⃣.  Extensive communication and dissemination activities took place over the duration of the project, and especially at times with important activities, e.g. the project launch, the cleanup events, the competition and the awards ceremony. Communication and dissemination activities were inclusive all means and media (print, online, social etc), had a total advertisement equivalent of 458.490 euro i.e. 10 times more than the funding and 108.000 people reached via AKTI’s social media.

 

Activities for Malta:

 

1️⃣. Waste characterization: this activity was carried out at Vittoriosa City in Malta and at the MCAST campus to identify the main types of waste disposed of and their relative percentages, depending on the type of establishment. This activity provides a solid base of waste data and indicate where efforts must be focused for more effective recycling. The waste characterization study was implemented with support from MCAST students, who undertook this field work and data evaluation research as part of their course work. Waste was sampled from at least 61 points, and each point was sampled 5 times.

🎥Some Videos from “Waste Characterization” action:

Video 1___Video 2___Video 3

📸Some photos from the Waste Characterization”, are available here.

 

2️⃣.  Build on the “Responsible Coastal Businesses Network in Malta: through extensive awareness-raising campaigns, where representatives of the Coca-Cola Company of Malta, informing business owners/managers about marine litter (sources and impacts) as well as about the upcoming European legislation on single-use plastics and how it affects them, and assisting them in implementing practices that will minimize their plastic production and thus minimize the potential for marine plastic pollution from their operations and their customers’ activities.

To provide inspiration, a Decalogue and a Guide were developed during the last year implementation of the project and distributed to the Coastal Businesses. Decalogue contained 10 basic possible good practices and the Guide contained examples of these good practices in order to inspire the applicants and encourage them to act against plastic pollution and generally for a more green performance of their businesses.

An electronic version of these, are available here:

✅ Decalogue_ma

✅ Examples of Good Practices_en

 

3️⃣. On-the-go recycling: 20 On-the-go recycling bins for PMD were installed near the coastal pedestrian walks in Vittoriiosa and on MCAST campus. The aim was to encourage local authorities and communities to improve collection infrastructure and implement reduction actions for plastics used. Source identification activity was performed for this action.

 

4️⃣. Beach cleanups in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup: annual beach cleanups on selected beaches with the collaboration of NGOs, local authorities, schools, and volunteers. All the cleanups were implemented using the International Coastal Cleanup Protocol in order to be able to identify the sources of the collected litter and to begin compiling data on beach marine litter in Malta. The data were included in the Regional Marine Litter Database and will also submitted to the ICC. 7 beach cleanups and 1 seabed cleanup were implemented, involving 488 volunteers. The litter items collected, weighed approximately 1670kg.

🎥🌊Some Videos from “Beach/Seabed Cleanups and Turtle Release”:

Video 1___Video 2

📸🌊Some photos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups, are available here.

 

5️⃣. Educational Campaigns: Educational campaigns were organized in schools present along the Vittoriosa border and on the MCAST campus. The educational activities include presentations on the topic of marine litter, awareness-raising about the beverage container return system, involvement in beach cleanup activities etc.

📸 Some photos from the “Presentations on the topic of marine litter”, are available here.

📸 Some photos from the “Awareness Walk against marine litter” , are available here.

📸 Some photos from the “Science in the City Festival”, are available here.

 

6️⃣.  Extensive communication and dissemination activities took place over the duration of the project, and especially at times with important activities, e.g. , the cleanup events, waste characterization activities etc. 346.342 people reached through Communication and dissemination activities were inclusive all means and media (print, online, social etc).

SEALIVE: Strategies of circular economy and advanced bio-based solutions to keep our lands and seas alive from plastics contamination

 

Project Background:

SEALIVE aims at demonstrating innovative circular strategies for bio-based plastics in land and sea applications. The project will be driven by economically and technically sustainable business models based on materials with advanced properties, design for circularity techniques and end-of-life solutions. It will establish a partnership of raw material providers, convertors, end-users, recyclers, policy experts, certification organizations and NGOs to demonstrate solutions within a shared vision for circular plastic strategies. Solutions for reusable, recyclable and biodegradable bio-based plastics to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds will be demonstrated in four pilot territories (Cyprus, Ireland, France and Denmark, or Non-European site) and will be applied to 8 end-applications with high potential for pollution reduction of soils and water media: rigid food containers, flexible packaging, agricultural films, fish crates, fishing nets and aquaculture mesh bags. Pre-normative research will be carried out to improve current standards for biodegradation, composting and recycling with regards to eco-toxicity, safety and influence of plastic ageing. Policy recommendations at EU and global level will be provided in order to build a common framework enabling pollution reduction of land and sea via sustainable bio-based plastics solutions.

SEALIVE’s General Objective: 

The general objective of SEALIVE is to develop innovative business models for advanced bio-based plastics directly supporting the Plastics Strategy set by the EC. The project aims at standing as a reference to be disseminated and widely used in Europe and beyond.

To achieve this goal SEALIVE will implement sustainable solutions based on novel bio-based plastics to avoid plastics ending-up on land and sea. Along the SEALIVE project, we will join the ambition of biopolymer producers with cutting-edge processing technologies, to follow the best end of life channels, targeting to build up a strong reference framework for the policy-makers and harmonisation.

AKTI’s Specific Objectives:

AKTI Project and Research Centre as a Partner to the Project will be involved in policy formulation and knowledge transfer to end-users. Specifically, AKTI will be responsible for:

– identifying the barriers, opportunities, synergies and coherence problems, the relevant legislation and policy instruments related to bio-plastics;

– proposing policy recommendations at the EU and global level, supporting the development and the uptake of new materials needed to unfold the full potential of bio-based plastics in the context of the existing policy framework;

– organizing media events in non-partners countries to create a network that will facilitate the expansion of the Project and contribute to the sustainability of SEALIVE and its outputs/products during and after the funding period.

 

SEALIVE_Press Release_KoM_FINAL_16 01 20

 

MarLitCy: Marine Litter for Synergies, Capacity-building and Peacebuilding

MarLitCy ‘Marine Litter for Synergies, Capacity-building and Peacebuilding’ building on the success of the MarLitCy (2014-2017), is a 36-month long, bi-communal project funded by the European Union, under the Civil Society in Action VI Programme.

MarLitCy aims to use the problem of marine litter as a tool for promoting dialogue and building closer relations between various unconventional target groups in Cyprus. This will be achieved through the implementation of activities that aim to raise awareness to key target groups and the general public about the issue of marine litter, and to promote the uptake of practices that aims to minimize the creation of marine litter across the island.

This project aims to enhance the role of civil society in active citizenship and decision making and to promote grassroots bi-communal collaboration, focusing on an environmental issue of European importance: marine litter. Marine litter is a powerful peace-building tool that has the potential to combat hatred and prejudices, while fostering cooperation among the two communities, providing a common win–win goal for all: keep our seas and coasts clean!

The project will contribute to the enhancement of the role of civil society in democracy, governance and peace building by using marine litter as a tool:

– To create an enabling environment to reduce marine litter

– To equip CSOs and other key stakeholders with the skills and tools to improve the marine environment

AKTI and the other project partners, Famagusta Walled City Association (MASDER), Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre and Scuba Divers Association will focus their actions on the following target groups:

University students, children and youth are particularly important, since environmental awareness and consciousness are formed from an early age. The project will therefore encourage children and youth to become involved in voluntary activities, such as beach cleanups, promote active citizenship through the involvement of university students in the decision- making workshop, and support children and youth to express their views and opinions, share them with their peers and take action in identifying solutions through the joint competitions. The project places significant emphasis in creating opportunities for collaboration of children and youth across the divide, in a safe environment that will allow them to build group dynamics and work as a team, through the up- cycled competition, the field activities for university students and the joint final exhibition and event.

Coastal enterprises, the fishing industry and divers are directly exposed to the problem of marine litter. Marine litter can pose a threat to their business through the loss of tourism, loss of fish stocks, or risk to their customers. Project activities that involve the implementation of best practices, such as the “Responsible Coastal Businesses” campaign, the “Fishing for Litter” initiative and “Dive Against Debris”, have been developed with these target groups in mind. Not only will the involvement of coastal enterprises, fishermen and divers in these activities educate them, but it will also build capacity as they will learn new management tools and techniques and they will engage with their local community, other enterprises and university students, enhancing or even creating links between public-private sectors, youth and entrepreneurs.

Coastal local bodies will therefore have an important role to play in the implementation of these best practices and will thus become both project target groups and beneficiaries. The enhancement of collaboration between local bodies and coastal/marine entrepreneurs will lead to the mutual understanding of the issues faced and how to address them. Additionally, participation of local bodies in a workshop that will bring together key decision-makers and stakeholders to discuss the current problems and provide suggestions on the reform of relevant ‘legal text’ in the northern part of the island, to bring it in line with European Directives, will benefit local bodies both in terms of greater understanding and collaboration and in terms of cleaner and safer beaches/sea.

The activities of the project have been designed to meet the needs, capacity and expertise of each target group, and particularly the unconventional target groups such as coastal local bodies, coastal businesses and the fishing industry. Societal needs are coupled with environmental concerns, environmental education and entrepreneurial development, through an integrated set of activities that promote the benefits resulting from cooperation and synergies, while providing solutions and structures to support peace-building and reconciliation.

The proposed activities include:

1. The Responsible Coastal Businesses Campaign and associated Award scheme

2. The expansion of the Fishing for Litter initiative to more ports/harbors in Cyprus

3. A decision-making workshop in the northern part of Cyprus that will bring together local/central decision-makers and key stakeholders

4. Capacity building and educational activities targeting children, youth and university students, an extensive and innovative island-wide awareness campaign

5. Joint competitions and exhibitions on marine litter

The autonomous but inter-connected activities have been designed to engage these target groups in a way that develops synergies and networks.

Sustainable Conferences and Events

Project Background

Conference Tourism is a major business sector; according to the International Congress & Convention Association, it has witnessed a rapid growth during the last decade. Although the conference & events industry is highly contributing to Cyprus economy, at the same time the arrival of hundreds of participants can overwhelm the local infrastructure, creating a significant amount of waste and generating a large amount of greenhouse gases, which leave behind a big carbon footprint.

Stakeholders involved in the sector need to understand the carbon impact of the Conferences & Events industry and undertake the responsibility of keeping the positive impact higher than the negative by educating themselves and by using the right tools to plan and manage their conferences/events in a sustainable way. Adapting sustainability in planning conferences/events will lead to financial advantages, environmental improvements, social benefits, the creation of a positive image for the stakeholders involved and help raise awareness of climate change issues and actions that must be taken to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Although currently there are several sustainability standards and tools available in the market to help measure and track the overall sustainability of an event; standards like ISO 20121, the event management system and certification launched for the 2012 London Olympics, the Convention Industry Council’s APEX/ASTM Green Meeting and Events Standards, Cypriot enterprises in the tourism industry are not utilising them effectively for many reasons; lack of sustainability awareness, insufficient legal framework & policy enforcement, misconceptions about the cost of sustainability adoption and lack of easy “all-in-one” friendly user tools.

The Sustainable Conferences and Events Project

AKTI Project and Research Centre is a partner in the Sustainable Conferences and Events (SCE) project, which aims to substantially contribute towards the achievement of a Sustainable future according to the EUROPE 2020 Strategy through balancing the environmental, social and economic responsibilities of the conferences and events that are organized by Top Kinisis.

AKTI will lead on all the sustainability aspects of the project. Specifically, AKTI will be responsible for:

  • – Mapping the event and conference sustainability status in Europe and elsewhere
  • – Identifying best practices and determining their key factors for success
  • – Mapping the sustainability level of the tourism and conference industry in Cyprus
  • – Undertaking a survey to determine the awareness of key stakeholders in the conference and event sector in Cyprus on sustainability issues
  • – Developing relevant training material that will be certified by CYCERT

 

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The project is funded by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, under the Restart 2016-2020 Funding Program.

TIGANOKINISI: turning domestic used cooking oil into biofuel

Turning a harmful waste, such as cooking oil, into biodiesel while promoting development and civic action

ARGONAFTIS Working Experience Programme

ARGONAFTIS is a 5 month in service training for young scientists in the field of environment!

Awareness raising measures for water saving

An island-wide initiative as a confidence-building measure under the auspices of the Environment Technical Committee.

Rare endemic plants within the Cyprus buffer zone

Cooperation for the conservation of rare endemic plants of Cyprus within the buffer zone

Environmentally-Friendly Practices in Schools

Increase awareness on environmental issues and trigger environmental-friendly behavior.

Recycling on Cycles

Cooperation on solid waste management, including recycling through a mobile information centre

Network for a sustainable future

Promote effective partnership among CSOs in Cyprus and the Mediterranean, EU and other countries, on environmental issues, sustainable development and stakeholder participation processes.

Water saving education program

Water saving: An integrated environmental education program for schools in South-East Europe

Natural Solutions for Agriculture in Cyprus

A bi-communal workshop on mycorrhizal technology in Cyprus

Promoting Organic Agriculture in Cyprus

Providing information to farmers and supporting the efforts for the promotion of organic agriculture in Cyprus

Inventory of Biodegradable Waste

Creating an inventory of the major sources of biodegradable waste in urban and rural areas of Cyprus

Promote Organic Agriculture among Cypriot Farmers

Promoting awareness-raising on organic agriculture among farmers across communities in Cyprus.

ENVIS PLUS

Utilizing ENVISwith a wide range of GIS applications allowing the experts and their departments across communities to produce a set of maps for the entire island of Cyprus.

Young Green Consumer

The Young Green- Consumer, the Citizen of Tomorrow

Green Cyclists and Excursionists

Raising awareness of cyclists and excursionists regarding the conservation and protection of the environment.

ENVIS

Water experts from both sides of the island cooperating through the use of a shared water database system called ENVIS (Environmental Information System).