A couple’s love for a Limassol beach has led them to set up a social network movement, soon to become an NGO, through which they organise beach clean-ups, raise environmental awareness and sell reusable products of their own design, Eleni Kazelas, one of the protagonists behind “Let’s Make Cyprus Green” tells CNA, in an interview.
Replying to a question as to how long the initiative has been around she says it started in December 2017. “It was an idea that happened overnight,” she explains.
“My husband and I got married on a turtle beach, Paramali beach, in Limassol,” she notes, adding that “it is our favourite beach and we go there as often as we can.”
In the course of time, Eleni continues, we noticed that every time we visited the beach, there was more and more rubbish. “One day, we decided to clean it ourselves and after having spent about four hours, we managed to collect 12 big bags of rubbish.”
On the one hand, she says, “we were a little disappointed, but at the same time we felt really good about having picked up the rubbish.”
“We wanted to do more and we then decided to hold beach clean-up events on Facebook, open to everybody to come and help us,” she continues, explaining how the Facebook page started.
She continues noting that the cost of beach clean-ups got expensive, “so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and come up with environmentally friendly products, to help with our cause.”
“We also ended up going to schools, teaching kids about the dangers of littering and plastic,” she adds.
In the end, Eleni says, “it turned out to be a big thing and we decided that we are going to continue setting as a goal to combat climate change through three steps; Through action with the clean-ups, through education by going to schools and posting environmental articles and through prevention with the products.”
Asked how big the initiative has gotten since its inception back in December, she says the team is growing. “In two and a half months we are going to be officially registered as an NGO” she points out, adding that in order to become an NGO you need at least 25 members.
She replies positively to a question as to whether the initiative has just been promoted through social networks. Mainly Facebook and Instagram, she says, adding that they also have a website.
Replying to a question about their products Eleni Kazelas says that “pretty much they are all alternatives to plastic, so we have lots of straws made from stainless steel, bamboo, glass and paper.” Also, she adds, we have “toothbrushes made from bamboo and some reusable bags.”
Our goal is to add new products every month, she notes.
Replying to another question she explains that “these are products that we have designed. They are ours and we have them in stock.”
Through their website and the products they sell, she says, “we are also trying to promote the island of Cyprus.”
Asked where the income from selling the products goes she points out that it is used for beach clean-ups, transportation fees and educational material for school visits and new products.
Eleni and husband Andrey both work full time at other jobs. “The initiative is something we do in our free time,” she says, adding that right now she spends many hours every day on it.
She hopes in future to be able to pursue it full time.