AKTI Project and Research Centre has launched the project «ZERO WASTE BEACH», which is supported by Coca-Cola Foundation in an attempt to tackle marine litter.
Marine litter is an increasing cross-sectoral global challenge with no geographic/political boundaries. Plastic has been recognized as the most abundant and persistent form of marine litter globally, with a recent study suggesting that more than 5 trillion plastic pieces are currently floating around the world’s oceans. In its larger forms (e.g. plastic bottles, six-pack rings, plastic bags, fishing-related items) plastic can cause the entanglement and suffocation of marine wildlife. Plastic does not biodegrade, but rather breaks down into continuously smaller pieces, called microplastics (less than 5mm). In this smaller form, microplastic items can be ingested by marine wildlife transferring all the organic pollutants that they accumulated as they floated in water. Recent studies have shown that this can have important impacts on the food chain, as ingested microplastics have been identified in marine organisms destined for human consumption. The possible effect that this can have on human health is still uncertain.
Cyprus has some of the cleanest beaches in Europe: it has the largest number of Blue Flag awarded beaches per capita in the world – 63 beaches along 350 km of coastline (in 2017). The economy of Cyprus is heavily based on coastal tourism. However, there is very little information on the amount of litter found on its beaches, floating in its waters or resting on its seabed, and its likely effect on tourism. Research undertaken by AKTI in the summers of 2016 and 2017 on 10 Blue Flag beaches in Cyprus has shown that, despite the fact that these beaches are cleaned daily by the local authorities who administer them, there are still important quantities of litter found on them. Specifically, what is left on the beach is mainly cigarette butts, plastic straws and small pieces of plastic, particularly from food wrappings – i.e. items that beachgoers buy from Coastal Businesses. Plastic, in all of its forms but especially in smaller fragments, is now ubiquitous on even Cyprus’s cleanest and most prestigious beaches. For a country whose economy is based on tourism, this can pose a significant problem, as it is bad for its image. To address this problem and to promote sustainable practices in entrepreneurial and civil everyday actions, this initiative is structured to target:
a) specifically the Coastal Businesses, and based on the “producer responsibility” mentality, to enhance their active involvement in minimizing litter that enters marine environment through the implementation of innovative, hands-on-the-problem awareness-raising and participatory measures. The aim is to engage Coastal Businesses, i.e. beach bars, snack shacks, beach restaurants, coastal hotels etc (henceforth called coastal businesses), strewn around Cypriot beaches, to take ownership of ‘their’ stretch of beach in order to protect it and minimize the amount of marine litter, and especially plastic, left on it by their customers and in general beach goers and support them to incorporate sustainable practices in their everyday performance through suggesting solutions, encouraging creative ideas and actions and award them, to make their effort visible to their clients.
b) Local Authorities and general public. Enhance their active involvement, encourage their participation in the campaigns and the solution-oriented actions, make them feel the “ownership” of clean coasts and seas, of marine litter recycling champions, of litter free coasts, “their coasts”.
This will be achieved through a series of interrelated activities as follows:
- On-the-go recycling through bins on coastal walkways and public coastal spaces: provide at least 50 recycling bins on walkways and public coastal spaces and work with local authorities to include them in their collection routines. Collect at least 2 tons of recyclable waste from these bins in the first pilot year of the project; Get local authorities and local civil society “adopt” the on-the-go recycling bins through for e.g. their engagement in monitoring of collected litter .
- Beach cleanups in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup: implement annual beach cleanups on selected beaches with the collaboration of the Responsible Coastal Businesses, schools, volunteers (including Coca-Cola System employees) and local authorities. AKTI is the national focal point in Cyprus of the International Coastal Cleanup of the Ocean Conservancy. Therefore, all the cleanups will be implemented using the International Coastal Cleanup Protocol. The data will be included in the Regional Marine Litter Database, developed by cypriot experts and managed by AKTI (http://www.isotech.com.cy/gallery/marine-litter-database/) and will also be submitted to the ICC to be included in the International Ocean Conservancy Data Base. At least 500 volunteers will participate in the cleanups of 2018, and at least 1 ton litter will be collected.
Some photos from the Beach Cleanups are available here
- Build on the “Responsible Coastal Businesses Network” in Cyprus that is initiated and managed by AKTI and has received the BeMed recognition (Beyond Plastics Mediterranean) for being an innovative action with strong social and environmental impact. Strengthen and expand the Network, which at this moment has 73 members around the island, through Implementation of an extensive awareness-raising campaign each summer targeting all coastal businesses on the island. Within the first pilot year of the project, the number of Coastal Businesses voluntarily joining the Network will be at least 130;
The Responsible Coastal Businesses Network is visible on this Map
A prerequisite for registering a business on the network is only to “get informed” with the practices that can be implemented. For that reason, a Decalogue with good practices that can be implemented by Coastal Businesses to reduce marine litter and specifically plastic waste was produced to be disseminated to all the participating businesses.
- 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 waste (PMD, glass, general) that they dispose. At least 1 ton of recyclables will be separately collected by the Responsible Coastal Businesses Network in the first pilot year.
- Launch a competition (a) for the coastal businesses that have managed to manage/reduce plastic waste most effectively over the summer period through synergistic activities with other key stakeholders; and (b) for the coastal local authorities and/or NGOs that promoted actions for increasing recycling in coastal areas e.g. implement of on-the-go recycling actions.
- Organize the awards ceremony for the winners of the competition. AKTI will make the Competition an annual event coupled with a prestigious Award and highly publicized award ceremony. The winners will have the title of e.g. “Clean Seas Champion”.
Through these 6 axes of activities, with the implementation of innovative tools (such as recognition and awards) and solution oriented actions, this initiative targets to minimize the waste that enters coastal and marine environment and introduce sustainable practices in the operation of Coastal Businesses, Local Authorities and general public. Because the success of recycling and waste management especially of land based litter that enters coastal and marine environment, is highly related to the hands-on participation of businesses and Authorities.
The program is based on the creation of transnational networks between Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Italy aiming to strengthen activities between four schools and four civil society organisations (CSO). Members of this transnational network will be involved in activities related to marine sciences and community participation.
These activities include:
- Exchange of students between the four countries
- Creation of educational material related to marine litter problem
- Development and implementation of innovative educational actions
- Digital applications
- Prototype forms of interaction
- Transfer of good practices
- Possible interventions, improvements and modernize on the existing institutional framework
All activities aim to promote interaction between students, teachers and CSOs, sharing experiences and good practices in all project sites. This can positively affect local communities and help in understanding the common problem of marine litter that needs to be addressed.
Marine litter is a complex and transboundary environmental problem, with increasing concern worldwide. Today is evident that effective policy and reduction measures should be urgently put in place, not only on local/national level, but also in regional/sub-regional; transnational cooperation being a real challenge. The overall objective of the MELTEMI project is along with the assessment of marine litter in beaches and sea, MELTEMI foresees an active engagement of the society and the key-players by informing, ‘educating’ training and networking them on a science and policy assessment framework of marine litter.
MELTEMI’s approach is based on the creation of transnational networks among GR, CY, BG and AL, where coastal marine litter will be assessed, with the aim to review world’s best practices and tools and adapt them to countries’ needs.
As main outputs MELTEMI will:
- Deliver a baseline assessment of marine litter on specific coastal zones
- Review the existing national legal and policy framework for the regulation of waste and the protection of the environment from marine litter
- Enhance and propose legal and policy frameworks based on existing policy and management tools and best practices at local, national and international level
- Engage society, increase public awareness and boost environmental education practices towards an ocean literate society on marine litter issues
- Assist decision makers to co-develop National & Transnational Action Plans Proposals for the reduction of marine litter at source
Project is co-funded by the European Union and National Funds of the participating countries
Η ΑΚΤΗ Κέντρο Μελετών και Έρευνας, πραγματοποίησε και φέτος το καλοκαίρι (Ιούνιος-Αυγουστος 2018) την καθιερωμένη εκστρατεία καθαρισμών ακτής, με 13 καθαρισμούς σε όλες τις ακτές της ελεύθερης Κύπρου, σε συνεργασία με τις Τοπικές Αρχές. 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!
Η καλοκαιρινή εκστρατεία 2018, διεξήχθη στο πλαίσιο του έργου «Zero Waste Beaches» που υλοποιείται από την ΑΚΤΗ / AKTI Project and Research Centre με την υποστήριξη του Ιδρύματος της Coca-Cola .
Οι καθαρισμοί 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.
Στην εκστρατεία καθαρισμού «καλοκαίρι 2018» έλαβαν μέρος 500 εθελοντές. Μαζεύτηκαν 15.886 τεμάχια σκουπιδιών, συνολικού βάρους 1116Kg, στις πιο κάτω κατηγορίες:
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 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.
Hub: the effective centre of an activity, region, or network
“The Hub” is the Cypriot Women’s Leadership Network to provide opportunities for networking, engagement and advancement. The overall aim of the network is to become the hub, the reference and the supporting mechanism to boost Cypriot women leaders to become active participants in decision making at all levels: public, private and civil society sectors. ‘The Hub’ was established in 2015, designed and developed by AKTI Project and Research Centre, with the support of the US Department of State, under the program Global Women, Peace and Security Initiative.
”The Hub” is being created within a framework of a wider project. Read below about the project.
About the Project
This project addresses the second pillar of the UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, ”Participation” which states that ” Women participate equally with men and gender equality is promoted in peace and security decision-making processes at national, local, regional and international level”
What is the Goal?
The overarching goal of the project is to empower Cypriot women to become active participants in decision-making at all levels: public, private and civil society sectors more broadly.
What are the Project Objectives?
The main objective of the project was to provide much needed opportunities for networking, engagement and advancement of women on the island, introduce innovation, as well as successfully tackle gender bias. This was achieved through the following:
The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) conducted a study through desk research and enhanced with experts opinions. This study focuses on gender inequality in decision-making and leadership and provides an understanding of the root causes in such inequality in Cyprus,the main barriers to women’s leadership and possible strategies to overcome gender inequality and increase the participation of women in decision-making at all levels.
- Desk based study to identify successful leadership networks in Cyprus, Europe and internationally.
This study helped to identify Best Practices of Leadership Networks, from Cyprus, Europe and Internationally, which could be emulated by the pioneering Cypriot Women’s Leadership Network. The best practices are presented in the map below.
- The identification of effective Cypriot woman leaders in different sectors to participate in the Cypriot Women’s Leadership Network “core group”.
- Regional and International Networking.
- The organisation and implementation of a number of training and networking events, bringing together Cypriot Women Leaders.
The trainings, events and meetings aimed to allow women leaders to exchange views and opinions and identify opportunities for collaboration and mutual support.
Cluster: a bunch, a bundle, a collection… a group of similar things or people positioned or occurring closely together.
Green Cluster is a new initiative being developed by AKTI Project and Research Centre. It is a dynamic form of collaboration aiming to strengthen joint activities, to increase innovation, networking, trust building, business development and business environments.
The Green Cluster emerges from a need to bring together businesses with a common interest, the environment, in a collective that will promote business growth and extroversion, will allow access to funds and will encourage and support the creation of start-ups. Watch our Green Cluster video.
Green Cluster Cluster Activities
The Green Cluster aims to bring together individuals and companies working in the environment and green sector in Cyprus. The aim is to identify individuals that could both contribute and benefit from the creation of the Cluster, since it is envisioned that the Cluster will work symbiotically.
The main activities of the Cluster will involve:
- The identification of opportunities and market needs in the green sector in Cyprus;
- Sector-specific and solution oriented networking events;
- A host of online tools, the Green Cluster e-platform, to share knowledge and information;
- A web-database of green best practices, and
- much much more.
The Green Cluster Sectors
One of the first actions of Green Cluster is the identification of promising green sectors, i.e. green sectors with potential to be expanded in Cyprus, which will cover nano and small enterprises, green workers and green leaders.Click here to view the sectors.
For more information and to apply to become a member, visit the Green Cluster website.
MarLitCy is a 28 month long project, funded by EuropeAid Programme.
The EU funded project ‘INTERACT’, focuses on social inclusion through environmental activities.
Turning a harmful waste, such as cooking oil, into biodiesel while promoting development and civic action
ARGONAFTIS is a 5 month in service training for young scientists in the field of environment!
An urban intervention to encourage the public to learn about, and to actively participate, in Tiganokinisi.
The EU funded project Coast Alert: Acting Regionally in a European Context.
Raise awareness among the youth of Cyprus to work for the protection of the global climate, ‘Youth in Action’ Prog.
An island-wide initiative as a confidence-building measure under the auspices of the Environment Technical Committee.
Share and shape common European values on consumption lifestyles with a view to contribute to sustainable environmental development.
Training Mediterranean Local Authorities And Civil Organizations On Integrated Coastal Zone Management And Reaction To The Impacts Of Climate Changes
Discovering the “know- how” on Sub-actions 1.1, 1.2, & 1.3 is a Gantalcalá initiative, ‘Youth in Action’ Programme.
Stimulate awareness among the youth of Cyprus on the importance of coastal environment, ‘Youth in Action’ Programme
Cooperation for the conservation of rare endemic plants of Cyprus within the buffer zone
Survey conducted on the perceptions on sustainable development and climate change in Cyprus
Increase awareness on environmental issues and trigger environmental-friendly behavior.
Cooperation on solid waste management, including recycling through a mobile information centre
Promote effective partnership among CSOs in Cyprus and the Mediterranean, EU and other countries, on environmental issues, sustainable development and stakeholder participation processes.
Increase young people’s awareness and society in general on the environmental impact of transportation.
Develop AKTI’s human capacity and organisational structure to make the organization more a more effective CSO.
Water saving: An integrated environmental education program for schools in South-East Europe
“Stay Healthy, Stop Mercury” campaign which is aiming at raising awareness of a potential “child brain drain” as a result of environmental mercury pollution
World Environment Day Green Cities – Plan for the Planet!
A summer camp for the youth of Cyprus to learn, discuss and act upon a sustainable future for their island.
A bi-communal workshop on mycorrhizal technology in Cyprus
Screening of school textbooks to identify historical myths that may encourage conflict across the communities in Cyprus while initiating dialogue among educators.
Providing information to farmers and supporting the efforts for the promotion of organic agriculture in Cyprus
Creating an inventory of the major sources of biodegradable waste in urban and rural areas of Cyprus
Promoting awareness-raising on organic agriculture among farmers across communities in Cyprus.
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.
Creating the website for the most natural coasts in Cyprus
The Young Green- Consumer, the Citizen of Tomorrow
Raising awareness of cyclists and excursionists regarding the conservation and protection of the environment.
Water experts from both sides of the island cooperating through the use of a shared water database system called ENVIS (Environmental Information System).