Environmental Education and Vocational Training
AKTI promotes and supports the construction of a knowledge based society with active mobilised citizens. It collaborates with schools, Universities and local authorities in various initiatives including environmental education and awareness raising activities focusing on specific issues that are of particular relevance and interest to the Cyprus society such as water saving, recycling, biodiversity, etc. AKTI is frequently invited by schools to give presentations and on-site trainings on issues such as coastal and waste management. It is also active in designing professional and vocational training programs as well as on-the-job environmental vocational trainings. It promotes green jobs through dedicated vocational training programs (e.g. organic farming, composting) and provides support to trainees and training of trainers.
The Akamas Pensinsula in Cyprus has been designated a Natura 2000 site for its rich and pristine terrestrial biodiversity. The marine area around the Akamas Peninsula has also been designated as a Marine Protected Area, the only one in Cyprus, because it is home to the island’s most important marine turtle reserve. Nonetheless, the wider Paphos District, within which the Akamas Pensinsula is located, has seen rapid development in recent years, as a result of increased touristic and foreign investment opportunities. Consequently, there is an ongoing, often heated debate, on the need of the conservation status of the peninsula as most of the land is privately owned. At the same time, the Cypriot fishing community, already struggling as a result of the relatively poor, oligotrophic waters of Cyprus, is eager to expand its fishing area within the Akamas Marine Protected Area. The root cause of the problem is a lack of understanding of the importance of the Akamas Natura 2000 site not only to the local and national environment but also to the local and national economy.
AKTI has extensive experience in working with local stakeholders in the wider Paphos/Akamas area and in environmental awareness-raising in general. This experience has demonstrated that bridging the knowledge and awareness gap can have significant positive impacts in changing behaviors and supporting environmental protection actions. A notable example is the very recently launched by AKTI (June 2020) Fishing for Litter initiative in Paphos (the first in the Republic of Cyprus), under the name Seanergy, with the active and eager collaboration of the Paphos District Fishermen’s Union. These are the same fishermen that operate in the periphery of the Akamas Natura 2000 site!
Also through several other activities in the area (such as Blue Cafes, the MELTEMI project activities etc), for the last 10 years, AKTI has created a base of stakeholders that can act as a core group to spread the word that protecting Akamas as a precious MPA is a win win situation! Through this proposal, AKTI would like to build on the success of its activities in the Akamas Pensinsula and boost public engagement so as to have more stakeholders supporting the protection of Akamas Natura 2000 site.
This has been achieved through the organization and implementation of a series of awareness-raising activities, as follows:
✅ The organization of a hike in the Natura 2000 site and more specifically at Avakas Gorge
✅ The implementation of semi-structured interview, virtual and over the phone, with fishermen, NGOs, tour operators and educators in the area to identify the main bottlenecks as well as solutions on how the Akamas Marine Protected Area can become a significant asset for the economic prosperity of the area.
✅ A social media campaign on Natura 2000 and especially the Akamas site.
Astrotourism is a 36-month long project funded by the Research and Innovation Foundation.
The project aims in using a professional approach in astrotourism product research and development for Cyprus along with a high-end astrotourism policy and governance.
Astrotourism’s research objective is to initiate a new section in the Cyprus tourism industry by increasing the number, the quality, the expenditure of the tourists and the number of local jobs in the periphery. Within this objective, we aim to research and create direct and indirect experiences within real, virtual and blended augmented reality environments where the visitor could expand his/her astronomical knowledge in a practical, simple and efficient way. This experience will be an added value tool for Cyprus, where the weather conditions secure clear skies for most of the days and nights. The overall goal is to conduct research that will focus on “beyond the state-of-the-art” innovation in the field of astrotourism leading Cyprus to be added on the world map of the astrotourism “hot” destinations and creating the proper environment to host and offer astronomy experiences for both experts and enthusiasts at an entry level.
Cyprus has one of the clearest night skies as well as optimal geographical location in the world, offering great advantages for astrotourism development.
Added value of the project:
- will strengthen the tourism competitiveness in Cyprus;
- will research and develop an innovative product that will give Cyprus the leverage to include itself in the international arena of astrotourism destinations;
- will provide solutions in diminishing the long-standing problems of tourism in Cyprus, i.e. the low-income tourism & and the seasonality issues;
- will give dedicated care for the environment;
- will provide the opportunity for many local citizens to experience and learn about the universe in both real and virtual environments;
- will be the driver for the creation of local jobs.
- Astro-Parks & Astro-Villages Eco-System set-up.
- Astro-Tour Guides, Material and Training: fun-and-learning activities for age groups 3-5, 6-9, 10-12 to be implemented in Astro-Parks.
- Astro Programme & Astro Events: Yearly Calendar of Astronomical Events and a calendar specifically highlighting high-profile astronomical phenomena visible from Cyprus.
- Astro-Tourism Packages: for attracting visitors to the astroparks and astrovillages, and to be used for the pilot study.
- Material on augmented reality/virtual reality.
- Strategic Business Plan: for the commercialization of the Astrotourism project.
The project consortium is composed by seven partners with different expertise in relation to the project. Along with AKTI, Project and Research Centre, the project’s consortium is consisted by Top Kinisis (coordinator), the Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems, and Emerging Technologies (RISE), the University of Nicosia Research Foundation, the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, Adelve and 1010 Asteroskopeion.
Ocean Conservancy: Citizen-science, Advocacy and Social Co-Responsibility for Trash Free Seas in Cyprus
A recent EU survey on the environment demonstrated what we have long known: while Cypriots express concern about the environment they are unlikely to act on environmental issues at the individual level. In the run-up to the 2019 ICC, AKTI launched a media campaign to encourage individuals to act spontaneously, as responsible citizens, against marine litter. The campaign was named “#potavristou”, which literally means “reach out” in the Cypriot dialect, but also has the meaning of “giving a helping hand”. AKTI, through its social media and with the support of several public media (TV & radio), asked individuals to simply “reach out”, anywhere they were on September 21st, collect the litter lying around them, take a photo and post it on social media using the hashtag “#potavristou”. Facts on marine litter and plastic pollution were shared on social media in the week leading up to the event to exemplify the #potavristou meaning. Over 500 people posted pictures and data on collected litter all around the coastline of Cyprus. It was a great achievement for Cyprus! This was the first campaign that targeted the self-responsibility of Cypriots as citizens, without organized groups or beach clean-up events on specific beaches. It is obvious that there is public sensitivity on the issue. And there is a definite need for more concerted actions, awareness, and stronger advocacy work. Cyprus has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe. While lack of citizen action plays a role in this, inappropriately enforced legislation is also an important contributor. A striking example of this is the fact that the hospitality sector (HoReCa) is not obligated to separate and recycle their waste! With this proposed activity, capitalizing on the success of #potavristou, AKTI aims to strengthen its outreach for enhancing citizen engagement and its capacity to offer broader advocacy to a larger spectrum of citizens groups through (1) empowering/encouraging citizens to act against marine litter, (2) gathering important-for-research citizen-science data that are scarce in Cyprus, (3) liaising with key stakeholders to identify effective measures to stop the flow of litter to the marine environment.
The proposed activity is supported by the Cypriot Commissioner for Environment.
– Instill a sense of social co-responsibility about marine litter by capitalizing on the success of the 2019 ICC in Cyprus and the #potavristou campaign.
– Collect important citizen-science data to inform AKTI’s future actions/messages on marine litter.
– Advocate for stricter measures to reduce the flow of litter to the marine environment.
A. Call to Action for the 2020 ICC and #potavristou initiative using the “Clean Swell” application to record the litter collected.
B. Brand Data Surveys: AKTI will select 3 beaches around the island and implement the Ocean Conservancy Brand Data Survey in October/November 2020, identifying the main brands but also determining whether this litter originates in Cyprus or is washed ashore from neighboring countries.
C. Policy Tool Development: In the winter 2020/spring 2021 AKTI will implement 3 specially designed workshops to gather stakeholder opinions on suitable, effective and applicable measures to address the marine litter issue. The first two workshops will take the form of ‘Blue Cafes’ i.e. get togethers at informal settings where participants, comprised of a mixture of local decision-makers, business owners (i.e. hospitality sector), NGO representatives and citizen groups will discuss the issue of marine litter within their area (sources, impacts) and identify potential solutions. The third workshop will be the wrap-up event: it will bring together decision-makers at the local and national level. Based on a dedicated decision support method and the suggestions from the Blue Cafes, the participants will identify and select the most effective measures to address marine litter in Cyprus. The outputs from this workshop will be used to form a Policy Tool i.e. an Advocacy Tool for AKTI to present to high-level decision-makers. The support of the Cypriot Commissioner of the Environment is a very important asset for the action’s success.
Η CYMEPA, το Κέντρο Μελετών και Έρευνας ΑΚΤΗ μαζί με τα εστιατόρια Ocean Basket ανακοίνωσαν την έναρξη της δράσης Ψαρεύω τα Σκουπίδια (Fishing for Litter) στο πλαίσιο του προγράμματος “The Seanergy Project”, την Παρασκευή 3 Ιουλίου στο λιμανάκι της Κάτω Πάφου σε συνεργασία με τον Σύνδεσμο των ψαράδων της Πάφου. Η δράση «Ψαρεύω τα σκουπίδια» θεωρείται από την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή ως καλή πρακτική για την μείωση των σκουπιδιών της θάλασσας. Ξεκίνησε από ένα λιμάνι στην Ολλανδία και σήμερα υλοποιείται σε πάνω από 70 ψαρολίμανα σε όλη την Ευρώπη. Στην Κύπρο υλοποιείται για πρώτη φορά. Στόχος είναι να ενημερωθούν οι ψαράδες μας, οι Αρχές και το κοινό της Κύπρου για το ζήτημα των σκουπιδιών της θάλασσας.
Οι δύο οργανισμοί παρείχαν στους ψαράδες εκπαίδευση και ειδικές μεγάλες ανθεκτικές σακούλες, για να μαζεύουν τα σκουπίδια που πιάνονται στα δίχτυα τους και να τα φέρνουν στην ξηρά.
Επιπλέον, η δράση στοχεύει στην καταγραφή των τύπων και των ποσοτήτων των σκουπιδιών που συλλέγονται. Τα στοιχεία αυτά αποτελούν πολύτιμα δεδομένα για την επιστημονική έρευνα και θα καταχωρηθούν στην Περιφερειακή Βάση Δεδομένων της ΑΚΤΗΣ.
Τη δράση υποστηρίζει η εταιρεία εστιατορίων Ocean Basket με τα έσοδά της από την πώληση επαναχρησιμοποιούμενων τσαντών.
Φωτογραφίες και βίντεο από την Ενακτήρια Εκδήλωση, μπορείτε να δείτε πιο κάτω:
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.
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:
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 Videos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups:
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 35.2 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.
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”:
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 1.458.490 euro i.e. 10 times more than the funding and 108.000 people reached via AKTI’s social media.
8️⃣. 18 Cypriot Local and Governmental Authorities and 44 Additional organisational beneficiaries, involving government, academia, industry and civil society, supporting the action by getting involved.
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:
📸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:
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”:
📸🌊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).
Tackling the Universal Problem of Food Waste
The Cypriot production of household waste per capita is among the highest in Europe. According to the Statistical Services of the Republic of Cyprus in 2017 the waste generation reached 636 kg per capita, placing us second only to Denmark which generates 781 kg. Overall European Union averages to 486 kg per capita, a third of which (i.e. 88 million tons) is Food Waste. This also means that one third of food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted, while one out of nine people globally is undernourished! (details and references can be found in the notebook and booklet attached below as pdf)
Sincerely Food, Cyprus, is an eight-month long, bi-communal project which is EU-funded under ‘Global learning approach on food waste in non-formal education’ (Project No. CSO-LA/2017/388- 342). It aims to utilise the engaging material developed by ‘Sincerely, Food’, adapt it to the Cypriot reality, disseminate it and raise awareness about food waste to as wide an audience as possible.
Reasons for the importance of ‘Sincerely, Food Cyprus’:
1. It takes a lot of time, human work and resources to produce food.
2. More than a half of food waste EU-wide is generated in homes.
3. Consumers have a big role to play in tackling food waste.
4. Tropical forests are being cleared to produce wasted
5. Food waste contributes to the global warming which causes extinction of animals and plants.
6. It’s easy to avoid food waste by planning your food needs.
7. Food will stay fresh much longer if we store it correctly.
8. Reducing food waste means saving money, resources, and our Planet.
Main Project Activities:
1.”Food for Peace” campaign: A bi-communal action which will focus on the culinary students of two Universities.
2.Presentations at schools to create awareness.
3.Door-to-Door Awareness Raising in two Municipalities.
4.Cooking Competition focusing on reducing food waste during the preparation process.
The focus will be on those target groups that have the greatest potential to make a difference in the amount of food waste that is being created: urban households, domestic workers from third countries, culinary students and children. A decrease in the food waste will contribute to meeting the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:
AKTI supports the Sustainable Development Goals
Urban Households amount to more than half of the food waste- other sources of food waste include retail and wholesales, production, processing. Thus, they are our main target group and most of our activities will directly or indirectly lead to a creation of their awareness. One of the actions will be a Door-to-door Awareness Raising in two Municipalities, one in the north part of Cyprus and one in the south part.
University culinary 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 the reduction of food waste in households. Through the involvement of university culinary students, we hope to develop a more considerate and environmental culture to could be adopted by the future cooking professionals, cooks and chefs. Project activities with these target groups in mind include Interactive Presentations for awareness raising and promotion of best practices in schools and the “Food 4 Peace” bi-communal campaign which will reach two Universities, one in the northern part and one in the southern part of Cyprus.
Domestic Workers are the ones managing the cooking and consumption in many of the households in Cyprus, a fact that makes them a very important contributing factor on Food Waste. Informational material will be translated in Filipino as well, the language of the majority of domestic workers in Cyprus. Furthermore, the closing event will be a Cooking Competition in which one of the criteria will be Zero Waste. Such a scheme is also promoting the integration of migrants in the Cyprus community.
This website was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of AKTI Project and Research Centre and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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:
1️⃣. 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).
2️⃣. 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.
3️⃣. 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.
📌 The six activities that were implemented over the duration of the project are:
1️⃣. Field trips for marine litter assessment and source identification were implemented, engaging coastal business owners, beachgoers and local communities. More specifically, AKTI implemented annual clean-ups on selected beaches with the collaboration of the Responsible Coastal Businesses, local authorities, schools, and volunteers. A total of 13 marine litter assessments were implemented: 12 beach clean-ups and 1 seabed clean-up, with the participation of almost 400 volunteers, including representatives of 10 local authorities.
AKTI is the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) of the Ocean Conservancy in Cyprus. Therefore, all the clean-ups were implemented using the International Coastal Cleanup Protocol. The data have been included in AKTI’s Regional Marine Litter Database and have also been submitted to the ICC. Over 18,000 litter items were collected, weighing more than 300 kilos.
📸🌊Some photos from the Beach and Seabed Cleanups, are available here:
2️⃣. A Guide that highlights the practices that can be applied by each stakeholder/target group in order to reduce the use of single-use plastics, has been developed, printed and distributed to all the Network Members as well as the coastal authorities we visited and informed about single use plastics. The Guide developed as part of this activity, aims to support businesses that are members of the Cypriot Responsible Coastal Business Network to implement practices that will minimize their consumption of single-use plastics, reduce the amount of litter that they produce, and thus contribute to the overall reduction of marine pollution. In so doing, the guide will help prepare coastal businesses for the Single-Use Plastics Directive of the European Union, which will come into force in 2021 and that will ban the use of the most common types of single-use plastics that end up in the marine environment. In summary, the guide seeks to fill a significant information and awareness gap by engaging key stakeholder groups and encouraging them to make a difference by incorporating more sustainable practices in their operations and thus contributing to the fight against plastic marine pollution.
200 copies of the Guide (100 copies in English and 100 copies in Greek) were produced and distributed to the Members of the Responsible Coastal Business Network, and other stakeholders
An electronic version of the Guide, is available here:
3️⃣. Strengthened and expanded the «Responsible Coastal Businesses Network» to 204 members, through the implementation of an Extensive Awareness-raising Campaign, which was implemented from May 2019 to September 2019 (in the tourist season) targeting all coastal businesses on the island. In these campaigns, AKTI’s staff liaised with 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 aim of the Network is to engage businesses in the fight against marine litter, by (i) raising awareness about the problem,(ii) sharing some best practices and examples on how to actively minimize their contribution to the problem through the Guide which was developed during the implementation of the project and distributed to coastal businesses and (iii) getting them invested in the protection of their nearby coastal environment as a means of securing and expanding their business.
✅ The Responsible Coastal Businesses Network is visible on this Map.
The awareness raising campaign also included visits to 16 Coastal Authorities to inform them about the project and the serious problem of single-use plastics, their impact on the environment and consequently on human health.
The involvement of representatives from these local authorities in the awareness raising visits to coastal businesses, added particular clout to this activity.
4️⃣. School visits were implemented to inform and raise awareness in children and youth about the problem of single-use plastics and its negative impacts on the marine environment. Dr. Michael Loizidis and Dr. Xenia I. Loizidou prepared an interactive presentation on marine litter and provided a ‘train the trainers’ workshop to AKTI’s team so they could more effectively engage students of all ages during the school visits. Presentations were given at 10 schools reaching 1244 students.
During these interactive presentations, children learned about marine litter and specifically the impact of single-use plastics on the marine and coastal environment, through fun games and hands-on activities. The presentation finished with ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption and a call to action.
📸Some photos from the Training of the Trainers by Dr. Michael Loizides and Dr. Xenia Loizidou for the presentations in schools, are available here:
📸Some photos from the School Visits, are available here:
In the framework of the project, an additional action was implemented which was not included in the project’s specific goals. An awareness raising campaign on marine litter was implemented in 2 Cypriot Universities, twice at Cyprus University of Technology and once at University of Cyprus, to inform and raise awareness in 400 students about the problem of single-use plastics and its negative impacts on the marine environment.
📸Some photos from the Awareness Raising Campaign in Universities, are available here:
5️⃣. A highly publicised Final event was implemented at the end of the project. The ceremony took place on June 5, 2020 on the occasion of the World Environment Day, at the Municipal Beach of Geroskipou in Paphos. During the event, the overall results of the initiative were presented, and two artistic installations on marine litter were inaugurated. For the installations, AKTI Project and Research Centre collaborated with the Municipality of Geroskipou and the Second Primary School of Geroskipou, under the supervision of Ms Elena Daniel, a Cypriot artist.
The philosophy behind the installation, is the participation of visitors to the beach in the drastic reduction of the inappropriate disposal of plastic waste. The installations are a fun and interactive way to engage children and adults alike in the fight against plastic marine pollution, and act as a reminder that we must find ways to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The event took place in the presence of the Environment Commissioner of Cyprus Mrs. Klelia Vassiliou and was attended by over 60 people (observing social distancing practices), including the Geroskipou Mayor Mr. Michael Pavlides and council members, the artist of the installation Ms. Elena Daniel, the Chairperson of Fishermen Federation in Paphos Mr. Leonidas Leonidou, Koloni Green Point manager Mr. Michael Michael, media (TV, radios and newspapers/e-media), Members of the Paphos Winter Swimmers Association, Members of Paphos Fishermen Association, representatives of the First and Second Primary School of Geroskipou, the Gymnasium of Agia Paraskevi and Giannaki Talioti High School in Geroskipou, Members of the Cultural Movement of Geroskipou and Local Community Members. The Ceremony was hugely successful with high Media coverage and publicity, and all stakeholders gave AKTI very positive feedback!
You can find below news clips, about the final event:
📸Some photos from the Final Event, are available here:
6️⃣. Extensive communication and dissemination activities took place over the duration of the project, and especially at times when important activities were implemented, e.g. the project launch, the participation of a representative of ΑΚΤΙ in the Ocean Week in Monaco, the cleanup events, the plastic free July campaign through marine litter facts and tips about single use plastics, the awareness raising campaign against single-use plastics in Universities, the interactive presentations in schools about marine litter and the final event.
Communication and dissemination activities were inclusive of all means and media (print, online, social etc) and included 30 publications about the project by third parties (national circulation newspaper articles, online news portals etc.), 1 TV and 4 Radio appearance, 37 Facebook posts by AKTI with a total reach of 63,529 and 1238 likes, 16 Instagram posts by AKTI with a total reach of 6,168 and 665 likes, 9 YouTube videos uploaded on AKTI’s channel.
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.
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, πραγματοποίησε και φέτος το καλοκαίρι 2019, την καθιερωμένη εκστρατεία καθαρισμού ακτών και βυθών, σε συνεργασία με τις Τοπικές Αρχές, καταδυτικών κέντρων, σχολείων αλλά και εθελοντών!
- Οι συγκεκριμένοι καθαρισμοί ακτής 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:
- 26 καθαρισμοί ακτής
- 4 καθαρισμοί βυθού
- 360 εθελοντές (ενήλικες)
- 667 εθελοντές (παιδιά)
- ΣΥΝΟΛΟ: 25.700 τεμάχια σκουπιδιών τα οποία ζύγιζαν πάνω από 1130 kg!
Πιο συγκεκριμένα, τα ποσοστά που αντιστοιχούν σε κάθε κατηγορία ανά τεμάχιο σκουπιδιών, ήταν τα εξής:
- Γόπες από τσιγάρα: 50%
- Πλαστικά: 34%
- Χάρτινα: 7%
- Μεταλλικά: 4%
- Άλλα (μεικτά): 3%
- Απόβλητα υγιεινής και ιατρικά απόβλητα: 1%
- Γυάλινα: 1%
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!
ΟΛΟΙ ΜΑΖΙ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΚΑΤΑΠΟΛΕΜΗΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΙΑΣ ΡΥΠΑΝΣΗΣ!
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.
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).