A new campaign backed by tourism businesses and local municipalities is aiming to eradicate single-use plastic from coastal areas – starting with the Ayia Napa, Protaras and the wider Famagusta region of Cyprus.
The campaign, “Keep Our Sand and Sea Plastic Free”, highlights the link between single use plastics – especially from hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes - and beach and marine litter.
The campaign has been created by the TUI Care Foundation, the Travel Foundation and the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI) and so far has support from the Mayors of each of the region’s municipalities: Ayia Napa, Paralimni, Deryneia, and Sotira, as well as the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA),the Cyprus Hotel Association (PASYXE), and the University of Nicosia.
Approximately 80% of rubbish collected on Cyprus beaches is plastic waste and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that in high season tourists across the Mediterranean create a 40% increase in marine litter. Plastic litter does not biodegrade and so will remain in the environment for hundreds of years. If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
Tourism businesses have been increasingly engaging with the issue of plastic pollution, recognising they are a significant producer of single-use plastic waste. This campaign will support local hotels, bars and restaurants with training and guidance to find alternatives to purchasing plastic items such as straws, cups, cutlery, bottles, bags and take-away food containers. The project will also raise awareness of the issue of single-use plastics with tourists, residents and school children – with activities such as beach cleans, competitions, school activity packs and social media events
Mr. Theodoros Pyrillis, Mayor of Paralimni said:
“We are proud that the Municipalities of the Famagusta region are the spearhead of this initiative. We have beautiful beaches and our marine environment is part of who we are. Together we can do something to show we care. The world is coming to recognise the absurdity of single-use plastics and the seriousness of the threat it poses to marine life. Let’s be among the first to declare our local area a plastic-free zone.”
Mr. Philippos Drousiotis, Chairman of CSTI, said:
“We already have a lot of support from hotels, bars and restaurants and other local businesses who want to get ahead of this issue, do the right thing for Cyprus and respond to the growing expectations of customers – local and foreign – who are now questioning the use of pointless plastics. This campaign is about providing training and advice for businesses, advice for residents and visitors about how they can do their bit, and events such as beach cleans and awareness raising activities.”
Mr. Frank Oostdam, Member of the Board of TUI Care Foundation, said:
“This project takes a collaborative approach, bringing together businesses, government, NGOs and citizens to reduce the amount of single-use plastic being consumed. It’s an opportunity for the tourism industry to lead the way in reducing, re-using and recycling, and to encourage others to reduce their environmental footprint, helping to conserve this beautiful coastline.”
At the moment, the initiative is gathering the commitment and support of stakeholders to shape a campaign that will see its launch in November 2019. The mission is clear and the name speaks for itself: Keep sand and sea plastic free!
For more information on how to support the campaign, visit: Sandseaplasticfree.org/signup
About TUI Care Foundation
Building on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects, which create new opportunities for the young generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, the TUI Care Foundation fosters education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations and sustainable livelihoods in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. TUI Care Foundation works global and acts local - it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long-lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore 100% of the donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI. TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.
About the Travel Foundation and Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative
The Travel Foundation is a charity that works in partnership with leading tourism organizations to improve the impacts of tourism and shape a positive future for destinations. Since it was set up in 2003, it has worked in 26 popular holiday destinations around the world. Its head office is in the UK and it has a global network of project managers. The Travel Foundation has been working in Cyprus, in partnership with the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI), since 2006, on projects including Minimum Standards for Hotels, Cyprus Breakfast, and Plastic Reduction in the Hotel Industry.