In the Mediterranean, plastics constitute the majority of beach litter, over 85% of floating litter and 45% to 95% of the litter found on the seafloor. This industry wide initiative supports Cyprus in its efforts to go plastic free. Together with hotels, restaurants and bars we tackle the single-use plastics.
Packaging like plastic bags and food containers as well as single-use plastics such as straws, bottles and cotton buds are the most common items of litter found in the Mediterranean Sea. But to tackle plastic pollution of the sea, action needs to be taken on land first. The tourism industry and its stakeholders provide a great platform to increase awareness of the plastic challenge by reducing their own plastic usage.
The initiative targets a local reduction of single-use plastics by tourism businesses of up to 70% by 2022, focusing on the popular destinations of Ayia Napa and Protaras in the East of Cyprus. Tourism businesses have been increasingly engaging with the issue of plastic pollution, recognising their role in distributing single-use plastics. 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 youth – with activities such as beach cleans, competitions, school activities and events. It will include social media engagement and an online community to drive outreach and awareness. “This project takes a collaborative approach, bringing together businesses, policy makers, NGOs and society to reduce the amount of single-use plastics. 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”, says Frank Oostdam, Member of the Board of TUI Care Foundation.
“We already have had 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 international – who are now questioning the use of disposable plastics.
This initiative is about providing training and advice for businesses and recommendations for residents and visitors about how they can do their bit, and events such as beach cleans and awareness raising activities.” says Philippos Drousiotis, Chairman of Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative. 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: Keeping sand and sea plastic free! This is an initiative of TUI Care Foundation, the Travel Foundation and the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.