Environmental Education and Vocational Training
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.
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. Single-use plastic products constitute more than 70% of all marine litter items. The European Commission in May, 2018 proposed new EU-wide rules that target to reduce the ten most common single-use plastic products found on Europe’s coastal areas and seas.
This year-long project funded by the Beyond Plastic Med Foundation aims to raise awareness on the impact of single-use plastics on the environment and consequently on human health and provide practical solutions to the problem targeting key stakeholders of the Cypriot society, specifically coastal businesses.
The specific objectives of the project are:
(1) awareness-raising of key stakeholders who contribute to, are affected by and are responsible for taking decisions regarding the usage of single-use plastics, particularly coastal businesses and local authorities, as well as the general public. Promote the need to reduce the use of single-use plastics, presenting their detrimental effects on the marine environment and offering a solution oriented campaign (as presented in following points (2) and (3);
(2) collection and dissemination of best practices for the reduction of single-use plastics through synergistic, novel and practical solutions to the problem. Collaboration of the key stakeholders will be encouraged and recorded;
(3) expansion of civic engagement through capacity building and skills development in conscious single-use plastic usage, in order to have a societal level change (i.e. coastal business owners, beachgoers, local authorities, students) in regards with the latest proposed EU Directive which aims to reduce marine litter.
To realize this objectives the project includes a series of interrelated activities :
(1) Organization and implementation of field trips and beach clean ups with source identification, for marine litter assessment engaging coastal business owners, beachgoers and local communities.
(2) Production of a Guide highlighting the practices that can be applied by each stakeholder/target group in order to reduce the use of single-use plastics;
(3) Extensive awareness raising campaign in the summer of 2019 to enlarge the existing Network of Responsible Coastal Businesses that was created through the previous Initiative, so as to include additional types of businesses such as hotels, kiosks etc that will adhere to a Decalogue of Good Practice.
(4) Implementation of school visits to inform and raise awareness in children and youth about the problem of single-use plastics and its negative impacts on the marine environment.
(5) Organization of a highly publicized final event to present the outcomes of the Initiative. The event will be organised on-board, in order to promote the symbolism of Litter Free Mediterranean and maximise the awareness.
(6) Extensive communication and dissemination activities through the duration of the project, targeting various audiences through a range of means.
(7) Active involvement of coastal Local Authorities both during the beach clean ups and the visits/awareness raising of coastal business network.
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:
1. Strengthening and expanding the “Responsible Coastal Businesses Network” in Cyprus to reach at least 200 members. This will be achieved through extensive awareness-raising campaigns, where AKTI’s staff will liaise with business owners/managers, 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 will add particular clout to this activity. At least 65 new members will be added to the Network.
A prerequisite for registering a business on the network was only to “get informed” with the practices that can be implemented. For that reason, a Decalogue and Guide against plastic pollution of the sea were produced during the last implementation period of the project and will be distributed to the Coastal Businesses and other stakeholders. These, were developed as part of this activity and includes examples of best practices that can be implemented by Responsible Coastal Businesses to reduce marine litter, and especially plastics, as well as other practices to promote sustainability.
An electronic version of these, are available here:
2. Track and record recycling waste from the Responsible Coastal Businesses: The members of the Responsible Coastal Businesses network will be required, as a mandatory term of their network membership, to record the amount of plastic recyclables that they produce. This will be monitored with regular visits by AKTI’s group of experts, who can also provide with their expert 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. At least 2 tons of recyclables will be separately collected by the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network during the project’s implementation.
3. Beach cleanups in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup: AKTI will implement annual beach cleanups on selected beaches with the collaboration of the Responsible Coastal Businesses, local authorities, schools, and volunteers. AKTI is the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup of the Ocean Conservancy in Cyprus. Therefore, all the cleanups will be implemented using the International Coastal Cleanup Protocol. The data will be included in the Regional Marine Litter Database and will also be submitted to the ICC. At least 10 cleanups will be implemented with at least 500 volunteer participants collecting at least 1 ton of marine litter.
Some photos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups (until now), are available here.
Also, seabed cleanup campaign has been carried out under the program: More information and photos can be found here.
4. On-the-go recycling through bins on coastal walkways and public coastal spaces: last year we installed 50 recycling PMD bins on 500 meters of walkways and public coastal spaces in two coastal Local Authorities. We worked with the local authorities and they supported us during the pilot implementation. We added a source identification activity, i.e. we separated the collected waste per source, so we started creating an innovative database with data that can be used for directing budget to the management of the most frequent litter. We will continue this activity for this year, running the collection and source identification throughout the year. At least 10 tons will be collected from the on-the-go recycling bins.
5. Launch the “Zero Waste Champions” Competition for the coastal businesses that have taken significant steps to manage/reduce plastic waste most effectively through synergistic activities with other key stakeholders; The ceremony is the flagship of the one-year effort for promoting recycling in Cyprus!
Activities for Malta:
1. Waste characterization: this activity will be 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 will provide a solid base of waste data and indicate where efforts must be focused for more effective recycling. The waste characterization study will be implemented with support from MCAST students, who will undertake this field work and data evaluation research as part of their course work. Waste will be sampled from at least 30 points, and each point will be sampled at least 5 times.
2. Beverage Container Return Scheme Pilot: Malta will introduce the Beverage Container Return System in April 2020. This activity aims to launch a Pilot Project, which will introduce 1 reverse vending machine, to be transported to key locations in Vittoriosa and MCAST to educate children, university students and the general public on how this system will work. This Pilot Project will cater for all beverage containers from different producers. At least 1 reverse vending machine will be installed, engaging at least 5000 users and collecting at least 10,000 containers.
3. On-the-go recycling: On-the-go recycling bins for PMD will be installed near the coastal pedestrian walks in Vittoriiosa and on MCAST campus. At least 20 bins will be installed, collecting at least 1 ton of PMD.
4. 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 will be 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 will be included in the Regional Marine Litter Database and will also be submitted to the ICC. At least 5 such cleanups will be implemented, involving at least 100 volunteers.
5. Launch a robotic technology competition: This will involve collaboration with the Engineering Faculty of MCAST. Students will be asked to submit designs of a robotic technology with the capability to harvest a substantial amount of marine litter especially plastic debris and micro plastics. This technology has to be powered by renewable energy. The winning proposal will receive funding to build the winning design and launch the robotic technology along the Maltese coastal areas to collect marine litter. At least 20 entries to the competition will be received.
6. Educational Campaigns: Educational campaigns will be organized in the 3 schools present along the Vittoriosa border and on the MCAST campus. The educational activities will involve presentations on the topic of marine litter, awareness-raising about the beverage container return system, and involvement in beach cleanup activities. In addition to being involved in the waste characterization study and the competition, students will also participate at the beach cleanups and presentations on marine litter will also be implemented on campus. Additionally, the project team will work with the College’s environment club/committee and the students undertaking the waste characterization study on campus to determine the main types of waste produced on campus, and which could be avoided/ recycled. The students, with guidance from their teachers and the project team will then prepare posters to be placed around the campus urging their fellow students to minimize their waste production. A media event will be organized on this occasion. Finally, the students will also undertake a post-campaign waste audit on campus, to evaluate the impact of the educational campaign. At least 5000 students will be engaged through the project’s educational activities.
Common Activities in Malta and Cyprus Awareness raising:
This is a horizontal activity throughout the project. During last TCCF grant period in Cyprus (2018) awareness raising had great results. It is a solution-oriented awareness raising campaign, revealing the problems and suggesting solutions to tackle them. It is due to this innovation that the Mass/ Social Media promoted so much the initiative, achieving a 1.04 million euro equal advertising cost. By transferring this activity in Malta and boosting it across the actions described above, we expect a significant impact in the effort to change perceptions.
AKTI participates as partner in the bi-communal project called ‘Go Social: Supporting Employability through Social Entrepreneurship’, August 2018.
AKTI is a partner in the ‘MALIA’ project, ERASMUS+ KA2.
Η ΑΚΤΗ Κέντρο Μελετών και Έρευνας, πραγματοποίεί και φέτος την καθιερωμένη εκστρατεία καθαρισμού ακτών και βυθών, σε συνεργασία με τις Τοπικές Αρχές, καταδυτικών κέντρων, αλλά και εθελοντών!
- Οι συγκεκριμένοι καθαρισμοί είναι στοχευμένοι: διεξάγονται σε ακτές τουριστικές ή/και που έχουν Γαλάζια Σημαία και στόχο έχουν να αναδείξουν το πρόβλημα με τα μικρά σκουπίδια που κρύβονται στην άμμο, αφού οι παραλίες καθαριστούν από την οικεία Τοπική Αρχή. Σημαντική είναι και η συμβολή ομάδων εθελοντών!
- Οι καθαρισμοί ακτών, γίνονται κάθε χρόνο στις ίδιες ακτές, με συγκεκριμένη μέθοδο, έτσι ώστε τα στοιχεία που συλλέγονται να μπορούν να είναι συγκρίσιμα, και να οδηγούν σε συμπεράσματα που βοηθούν την παγκόσμια έρευνα. Για την καταγραφή των απορριμμάτων και το διαχωρισμό στις πηγές χρησιμοποιείται το Διεθνές Πρωτόκολλο Ocean Conservancy. Τα δεδομένα εισάγονται στην διεθνή βάση δεδομένων του Διεθνούς Οργανισμού Ocean Conservancy, ώστε να αποτελέσουν υλικό για σύγκριση δεδομένων και μελλοντική έρευνα.
Τα αποτελέσματα από τους φετινούς καθαρισμούς (μέχρι σήμερα), ήταν τα εξής:
- 22 καθαρισμοί ακτής
- 4 καθαρισμοί βυθού
- 321 εθελοντές (ενήλικες)
- 514 εθελοντές (παιδιά)
- ΣΥΝΟΛΟ: σχεδόν 18.500 τεμάχια σκουπιδιών τα οποία ζύγιζαν σχεδόν 1 τόνο!
Η εκστρατεία καθαρισμού ακτών και βυθών θα συνεχιστεί τον Σεπτέμβρη!
Ευχαριστούμε όλους όσους συμμετείχαν στην προσπάθεια μας αυτή να καθαρίσουμε τις ακτές και τους βυθούς μας και να προστατέψουμε τη θαλάσσια ζωή που απειλείται!
Όσο πιο πολλοί συνειδητοποιημένοι και ευαισθητοποιημένοι πολίτες, τόσο λιγότερα σκουπίδια στις θάλασσες και τις ακτές μας!
Project “Fighting plastic pollution in Cyprus: The Responsible Beach Bars Initiative” has been recognised as an innovative social initiative and therefore awarded by Beyond Plastic Med organisation (http://www.beyondplasticmed.org/).
This initiative aims to engage beach bars, snack shacks and beach restaurants (henceforth called beach bars), strewn around Cypriot beaches, to take ownership of ‘their’ stretch of beach in order to protect it and minimise the amount of marine litter, and especially plastic, left on it by their customers and in general beach goers.
The initiative, and particularly the outcomes of the Responsible Coastal Businesses award, was the focus of CYBC’s ‘Spiti sti Fisi’ (Home in Nature) show which aired in October 2018. You can see the entire broadcast (in Greek) below:
Timeline of Project Activities
The Initiative was launched on 28 June 2017 in Paphos, in the presence of His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador in Cyprus, Mr Angel Lossada, and the Mayor of Yeroskipou. The launch event included a beach cleanup with the participation of students from Paphos Technical School and other volunteers, as well as informational campaign to the beach bars of the area.
The highlights from the Launch Event are presented in this short video:
Project “Fighting plastic pollution in Cyprus: The Responsible Beach Bars Initiative” will achieve its aims through six interrelated activities, which are presented below.
(1) Organisation and implementation of a workshop bringing together stakeholders from around the island to record their opinions and views with regards to plastic waste, to identify the problems they face with regards to its management and to pinpoint easy to implement and effective solutions for its management.
Three workshops were organised within the framework of the project: one with the local authorities responsible for Blue Flag beaches in Cyprus, one in Paphos with key stakeholders and one in Nicosia with the collaboration of the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese embassies on the island.
(2) Development of a concise but comprehensive guide for beach bars outlining the practices that they can implement to minimise plastic waste;
(3) Awareness-raising campaign in the summer of 2017 targeting all beach bars on the island, where the Guide and a Decalogue of Good Practice will be disseminated.
The awareness-raising campaign involved visiting beach bars around the island, sharing information about marine litter and encouraging them to become members of the Responsible Beach Bars Network, by adhering to the Decalogue of Good Practice (Decalogo EN_F Decalogo GR_F).
(4) Launch a competition for sustainable practices implemented by beach bars around Cyprus.
The competition was launched in March 2018, in collaboration with the Pancyprian Association of Entertainment Venue Owners (PASIKA). The deadline for the competition was the 31 March 2018.
All the competition documents can be found here (in Greek):
(5) Organise an awards ceremony for the winning beach bars.
The Awards Ceremony, which took place on 24 April 2018 on board the vessel M/V DOREMI, was a great success. In addition to the awarded beach bars, attendees included the Mayor of Larnaca, Mr Andreas Vyras, His Excellency the Ambassador of Spain, Mr Angel Lossada, Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ms Nathalie Jaarsma, representatives from the British High Commission and other distinguished guests, including representatives of the Cyprus Association of Recreation Venue Owners.
There was extensive coverage of the ceremony in local media (both online and print), including CYBC’s morning news broadcast (click here to view the broadcast clip).
AKTI developed the following highlights video of the award ceremony:
Beat the Microbead: A worldwide campaign to ban plastic microbeads
Beat the Microbead is an international campaign supported by AKTI Project and Research Centre along with numerous NGOs worldwide against microbeads used in cosmetics.
Microbeads and Pollution
Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic that have been added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world. These microbeads, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out microbeads and that is the main reason why ultimately, they contribute to the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans. Sea creatures absorb or eat microbeads. These microbeads are passed along the marine food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing microbeads from the food we eat. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.
About the campaign
The campaign aims to prevent manufacturers and retailers from using and selling products containing microbeads, and asks governments to ban their use in cosmetics. It was launched in 2012 and it is currently supported by 86 NGOs from 37 countries and 446 brands from 117 different manufacturers. This positive response shows that more and more of these microbeads are being removed from personal care products and replaced by natural alternatives. It is still a far cry to say that all personal care products are free from plastic microbeads though.
In October 2013, an internationally functional, smartphone application and supporting online platform (www.beatthemicrobead.org) were launched to support the campaign. The Beat the Microbead app makes it easy to check whether a product contains plastic.
For more information, click here.
MarLitCy is a 28 month long project, funded by EuropeAid Programme.
The EU funded project ‘INTERACT’, focuses on social inclusion through environmental activities. Continue Reading