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Cyprus ranks first among EU member states in waste production

03 July, 2014

'Rethink' campaign on waste managment kicks off

The Rethink campaign aiming to raise awareness on reducing, reusing and recycling waste was launched on Thursday during an event in Nicosia, in the presence of the project`s prartners, state officials and stakeholders.

The “Rethink” campaign, as it is called, will last for almost 3 years and aims to shape new attitudes in public opinion and policy making towards waste production. Cyprus has the worst record in the field among EU countries, producing annually 772 kilos per resident, while the EU average is 525 kilos.

CyBC and CNA, along with Green Dot, Fost Belgium, the Department of Environment and the Pedagogical Institute all have a central role to play in the project, whose budget exceeds 2 mln euros.

Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides has said that the protection of the environment constitutes one of the main goals of the government, noting that this goal is promoted by ensuring an integrated policy and an adequate, modern and properly applicable legislation with a view to achieve a sustainable development and efficient use of resources.

Addressing the event, Christodoulides said that the co-funded programme LIFE+ comes at the right time to enhance government`s efforts on the protection of the environment. “A comprehensive communication strategy to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste was what was missing in Cyprus", he said and expressed the hope that the project will bring about significant changes in perception, awareness and habits of the public and stakeholders on waste management.

Government Spokesman confirmed that the government is willing to enhance the protection of the environment by all means and congratulated the project partners for the selection of their proposal. "The implementation of this proposal, is expected to contribute significantly to efforts to inform citizens and consolidate environmental awareness in our country," he concluded.

Cyprus ranks first among EU member states in waste production per capita, Minister of Agriculture Nicos Kougialis said, while underlining the need for a comprehensive waste management.

He referred to the goals of the “Rethink” project, aiming to raise awareness for reducing, reusing and recycling waste and said those involved in the project aim to have a significant impact in changing people`s attitudes towards waste production and waste management.

Kougialis noted that efforts to be undertaken in the framework of the project in the next three years are an important part of the Ministry`s wider efforts for a rational waste management.

From his part, the Minister of Education Costa Kadis referred to the need to promote education programmes, while expressing his Minitsry`s suport towards this direction.

He congratulated the partners of the “Rethink” project, noting that Life+ programs are very competitive and it is an honor for Cyprus for managing to secure the funding.

The Cyprus Commissioner on Environment Ioanna Panayiotou stated that in order to achieve the goal of a sustainable waste management policy we need to inform and engage the citizens, the local authorities, the private sector, the Media and the State, adding that such a policy starts from the reduction of the waste and from policies to reduce waste production.

The primary focus, even before recycling and composting should be the promotion of practical techniques and policies that will reduce waste production, which means to promote provisions for a viable and sustainable consumption, Panayiotou added.

The Chairman of the Cyprus News Agency Larkos Larkou addressing the event referred to CNA`s contribution to the project, and pointed out that the cooperation of CNA with CYBC and other semi governmental organisations is among the targets of the Agency. He also said that CNA invests on knowledge, innovation and technological developments through its participation in EU project, such as LIFE+.

The President of the House Committee on the Environment, Adamos Adamou expressed from his part the support of the Cyprus House of Representatives to the project, noting that its goals coincide with the Committee`s principles.

CyBC journalist Kyriacos Pierides, who is responsible for the project, said that there has been a lot of progress in Cyprus on recycling, which is not matched however with similar progress in reducing and reusing waste.

He referred to the project`s goals, and said that an awareness raising campaign will be implemented, based on a comprehensive communication strategy on the RRR principles (reduce, reuse, recycle).

Kyriacos Parpounas from Green Dot noted from his part that Cypriots are willing to receive more informaton on envromental issues, however this is not always accompanied by deeds, as shown in polls.

According to Eurobarometer, he went on, 50% of Cypriots say they need more information on the topic – compared to an EU average of 25% - but when asked if they separate their waste for recycling, 57% say they do so, compared to an EU average of 66%.

In a seminar, following the event, the role of the partners was explained by Aravella Zachariou on behalf of the Pedagogical Institute and Athina Papanastasiou from the Department of Environment.

Johan Goosens from Belgium`s Fost Plus refereed to best practices from his country, while Giorgos Kirkos explained the details of the prioject.