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.