The official launch of the campaign "Cyprus says No to plastic straw", took place on Thursday in Nicosia at the Press and Information Office, during which the initiative of the Special School of Saint Spyridon in Larnaca was presented.
The press conference was attended by Minister of Agricultural, Rural Development and the Environment Kostas Kadis, PIO Director Sophie Michaelides, Commissioner for the Enviroment Ioanna Panayiotou, and Maria Psilolichnou on behalf of the school. The event was also attended by Volunteerism Commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki and head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Ierotheos Papadopoulos.
According to a press release by the Press and Information Office, the initiative is under the aegis of the Commissioner for the Environment. During the campaign, a volunteer group of the school in Larnaca will replace all conventional plastic straws with biodegradable or aluminum straws, which will be given to pupils of the schools in Cyprus.
The initiative will initially start in the city of Larnaca and will be further extended to all primary and secondary schools in Cyprus.
The Minister of Agriculture welcomed the initiative and referred to the importance of such actions "aimed at educating the future generation". He underlined that the Ministry and himself personally support every event and program aimed at informing and raising public awareness, particularly for children and young people, on reducing plastic use and protecting the environment.
The Director of the Press and Information Office, in her speech thanked the volunteer group of the Special School of Saint Spyridon for its initiative to highlight this important issue and praised the role of the Commissioner for the Environment for the series of actions her office has undertaken. Furthermore, Michaelides called on everyone to welcome this effort, which, as she said, demonstrates in practice that a small group of people and the private and public sector collaboration are enough to make important steps forward.
She also said that PIO and the state radiotelevision RIK, which is the media sponsor of this effort, will do everything in their power to convey this message to all citizens in Cyprus.
In her address, the Commissioner for the Environment said that Cyprus should take the next step in order to reduce the use of plastic and thus contribute to the protection of the environment.
The aim of the campaign, she added, is that all pupils receive a reusable stainless steel straw home, with its brush, as well as a beautiful bookmark and understand through school presentations and actions why it is necessary to say no to the plastic straw. Then, she added, they will convey the message to their families and change habits together.
On behalf of the Special School of Saint Spyridon Larnaca, Maria Psilolichou said that the aim of their initiative is to raise awareness as regards the environmental pollution and turn Cyprus into the first country that adopts this best practice in the EU.
The initiative is under the auspices of the Environment Commissioner, with the support of the Press and Information Office, Larnaca Mayor and President of the Union of Municipalities and Communities Andreas Vyras, the European Commission Representation in Cyprus and RIK.
During the press conference, the first TV spot of the campaign was shown, starring Salina the Flamingo.