The Mediterranean SOS Network has announced that its nationwide voluntary campaign to clean up Greece's beaches and coasts 'Clean the Mediterranean' will kick off next Sunday for the 16th consecutive year. The first meeting will be at Schinias Beach in east Attica, at 10:30 a.m.
Volunteers are invited to help clean beaches, archaeological sites and parks and to gather data on the condition of the coasts that they are cleaning, such as sources of pollution, possible recycling options and other information.
The campaign is being carried out with the aid of the United Nations Environmental Programme/ Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and the European Commission's representation in Greece.
In a press conference on Monday, Mediterranean SOS President Evangelos Kioukasas stressed the importance of the campaign given that Greece had 16,000 kilometres of coasts, or roughly half the coastline of the entire Mediterranean.
The head of the European Commission's representation Panos Karvounis particularly emphasised the problem of pollution by plastics in the Mediterranean, where he said that 500 tonnes of fragmented plastic waste was now floating. He underlined the need to deal with the problem given that the Mediterranean was a closed sea whose waters were renewed every 80 to 90 years. Karvounis said the solution was to ban plastic bags, as was done in several countries, or to remove the pollutants, which was difficult and time-consuming.
He also announced that a pilot programme for the collection of waste at sea by fishing craft, announced by European Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries Maria Damanaki, will begin in the south of France on May 20.