“Blue Panda” will be in Greece in July, aiming to inform the public about oil extraction and impact on marine life
The WWF Blue Panda starts on May 29, its first trip through which it will cross the entire Mediterranean, with the main goal of informing and raising awareness of the modern environmental threats it faces the marine life of the Mediterranean. This action is an action of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative (WWF) Mediterranean Initiative and is in line with the organization’s vision of creating a sustainable “Blue Economy” in the Mediterranean region.
Over the next six months, Blue Panda will visit a total of 6 Mediterranean countries (France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco), transferring images from the rich biodiversity of the Mediterranean. In addition, citizens will have the opportunity to be informed about ways in which they can take action to help tackle the major threats directly to the marine life of the Mediterranean, such as oil extraction and plastic pollution.
In Greece, Blue Panda will remain for about two weeks, focusing thematically on one of the biggest threats to the Greek seas: oil and gas extraction. In particular, from 19 to 31 July, the boat will visit Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca where special events will take place with the active participation of local groups, residents and visitors of these islands.
These are just three of the areas directly affected by the mining projects in Greece, as a marine area of approximately 60,000 square kilometers has already been leased to oil companies, covering almost the whole of the Ionian Sea and reaching up to the west and southwest of Crete. The hydrocarbon exploration and extraction program is a huge threat not only to the “home” of many marine species that are under international protection (such as whales, Mediterranean seals and dolphins), but it also poses a threat to coastal communities and the national economy.
“Blue Panda” marks a new major WWF awareness campaign, the main objective of which is to highlight the crucial role that citizens can play in protecting the Mediterranean and our seas. The focus on Greece can not be avoided in raising public awareness of the “number one” threat facing the Greek seas and bringing people together around a common goal: the opposition to the hydrocarbon exploration and extraction program in Greece and the a demand for a future based solely on clean energy, “said Dimitris Ibrahim, WWF Greece’s Marine Program Manager.
The journey of “Blue Panda”
In June, Blue Panda will carry out scientific research in the “Sea Shelter” area to collect information on the situation of whales in the area and to propose measures to reduce plastic pollution and risk collisions of cetaceans by ships in the area.
From July to November, the boat will visit some of the most touristic coastal cities of the Mediterranean, such as the Tuscan Arctic, Nice, Marseilles, Istanbul, Tangier and Tunis, mobilizing citizens and local authorities to act against the pollution of the sea by plastic waste.
“Blue Panda will become a laboratory of knowledge, innovation and mobilization for the entire Mediterranean Sea. We have a unique heritage and we quickly destroy it by irresponsibly throwing plastics into the environment, oil extraction and overfishing. We want to show the world that our common Mediterranean culture is connected with a healthy sea. We want to inspire local communities and tourists to become Mediterranean Guardians and actively engage in the protection of our seas, “said Giuseppe Di Carlo, director of the WWF Mediterranean Initiative.
source – startmediacorfu.gr