New campaign to support Cyprus in going plastic free

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.

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.

Frank Oostdam, Board of TUI Care Foundation
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