The Greek coast is full of cigarette butts



At the initiative of the AK Laskarides Foundation, with the assistance of the Hurricane “a 72-meter high-tech vessel of the Foundation, in collaboration with the Aegean and Patras Universities, volunteers, members of local communities, students, schools, environmental agencies and organizations , during the last two years, 310 cleanups have been carried out, and 41.5 tonnes of waste have been collected, while simultaneously collecting scientific data under the Sea Change Greek Islands program.


Indeed, at the initiative of the Foundation, last summer, at the beach of Vagia in Serifos, a smoking zone with specially designed buckets was used for the first time, but this triggered a reaction from a portion of smokers. However, more than 4,500 pigs ended up in the bucket and not on the beach.


Of course, it is not only cigarette butts that contaminate the coast, as in the findings of the Foundation’s cleanings, both at the bottom of the seas and at the beaches, there are also naturally occurring microplastic wastes, at 78%, while bottles, styrofoam, lids were collected. , fishing gear, up to tires, batteries, supermarket trolleys and motorbikes.


The problem with marine litter has become enormous. According to a WWF study, Greece, which has 16,000 kilometers of coastline, consumes about 0.6 million tons of plastic annually and recycles only 20%. A survey of 80 cleanup data in Greece shows that the most common pollutants are plastics (43-51%), followed by paper (13-18%) and aluminum (7-12%). As reported, the main trash found on the Greek beaches are cigarette filters, bottle caps, straws and shakers, plastic bottles, food packaging and plastic bags. At the same time, public awareness remains low, as only 24% of Greeks avoid buying disposable plastic products.



– Waste production in the Mediterranean countries ranges from 208 to 760 kg per capita per year. In the summer months the waste produced is increased by 40% due to tourism.

– Each year 150 mm – 500 mm tons of macroplastics and 70 mm – 130 mm tons of microplastics enter the European seas. Most of these plastics end up in the Mediterranean.

Pollution in the Mediterranean has particularly significant effects on fisheries and tourism. Maritime waste is estimated to cost the European fishing fleet 61.7 million a year from fish reduction, boat damage or fish consumption due to quality concerns.

The main victims of “plastic pollution” in the Mediterranean are birds (35%), fish (27%), invertebrates (20%), marine mammals and sea turtles (13%). It is estimated that 90% of seabirds have a small piece of plastic in their stomachs, while all species of turtles living in the Mediterranean have swallowed plastic.

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