The results of European Cleanup Day 2016 in Greece

Associations, Charity, Clubs, Communication, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Pollution — By on July 4, 2016 at 3:06 PM
Coastal cleanup at Kellarios Bay of Thessaloniki organized by the Department of Environmental Actions of the Municipality of Thessaloniki in cooperation with the 89th Elementary School of Thessaloniki

Coastal cleanup at Kellarios Bay of Thessaloniki organized by the Department of Environmental Actions of the Municipality of Thessaloniki in cooperation with the 89th Elementary School of Thessaloniki

Cigarette butts and plastics are at the top of the list of litter items polluting our natural environment, according to the results of the European Cleanup Day in Greece, which was coordinated by HELMEPA for the third consecutive year, from 6 to 15 May 2016.

Approximatelly 6, 036 volunteers conducted 126 cleanups of beaches, parts of the seabed, banks of rivers and lakes, forests and other natural areas covering a total length of 91 kilometers. They collected 13.5 tons of garbage of which 2.5 tons were recyclable materials that were recycled by the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HE.R.R.Co), which supported the activities nationwide.

The volunteers recorded the litter findings on HELMEPA’s special data cards. This data was then processed and analysed providing useful findings regarding the quantities, types and origins of litter polluting the environment.

Top 10 litter items

Pieces

Cigarette ends

14, 488

Pieces of plastic < 2.5cm in length

6, 808

Plastic bottles

5, 598

Food packaging

5, 053

Straws

4, 219

Plastic bottle caps

4, 163

Plastic bags

3, 961

Plastic container lids

2, 499

Aluminium soft drink cans

2, 436

Pieces of styrofoam < 2.5cm in length

2, 374

Coastal cleanup at Agios Mamas of Spetses organized by the Port Authority of Spetses, with the assistance of pupils from the Primary School of Spetses

Coastal cleanup at Agios Mamas of Spetses organized by the Port Authority of Spetses, with the assistance of pupils from the Primary School of Spetses

It is evident from the Table of the Top 10 litter items that almost all of them are plastic. Worrying is also the fact that once again this year, the Table includes an increasing number of plastic pieces less than 2.5cm in length, thus demonstrating that these materials, which are synthetic, do not biodegrade. Instead, as time goes by, they break down into smaller pieces that travel with the wind and sea currents.

Among the waste items collected, most are related to recreational activities, volunteers found 2, 833 paper and plastic plates / cups, 1, 602 cigarette / tobacco packs, 1, 598 paper bags, 1, 175 glass bottles, 1, 368 meters of rope and 669 meters of fishing line, 435 construction materials, 426 batteries of all kinds, 271 car tires, 71 electrical devices, 42 barrels, 10 carpets, 5 waste bins, 2 life jackets, 3 inflatable boats, 10 road marking cones and one diving suit!

Cleanup of the school yard of the 2nd Kindergarten of Loutraki from pupils and teachers-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program

Cleanup of the school yard of the 2nd Kindergarten of Loutraki from pupils and teachers-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program

The participation of the educational community in the European Cleanup Day was once again extensive with 87 Kindergartens, Primary and High Schools, where kids and young student members of the “HELMEPA Junior” and “Cadets” programs were the major element. Cleanup actions were also organized by municipal and port authorities, HELMEPA’s member-company AllSeas Marine S.A., other companies and organizations, protected areas management authorities, environmental organizations and cultural associations, nautical clubs, citizens’ groups and divers.

HELMEPA thanks the local stakeholders, teachers, companies and organizations for their cooperation in implementing the various activities, as well as HE.R.R.Co for the invaluable support and all the volunteers who participated once again this year spreading HELMEPA’s timeless message “No more garbage, no more plastics in our Seas and on our Beaches!”

Greece: Cleanup map

Greece: Cleanup map

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