Alonissos is a small island of Northern Sporades, well known for its traditional housings and rich ecosystem. The island offers a quite extended marine park of 2.260 km2, one of the largest marine protected areas in Europe, and shelters a significant number of monk seals -an endangered species- and other mammals such as dolphins and some whale species. Despite the existence of a marine protected area, the risk of infringements by fishermen who engage in improper and illegal fishing methods into the marine park is increasing. Thalassa has been supporting the effective patrol of the park in order to preserve fish stocks and the survival of rare fauna that it encompasses. Moreover, Thalassa has already allowed MOm a large area of 850m2 for the creation of a state of the art facility for the rescue & treatment of sick and wounded monk seals. Currently, Thalassa Foundation is taking action so that the island's unique biodiversity is guaranteed by also supporting a plastic-bag-free campaign and plans to undertake other conservation actions in the near future.
Plastic bags need hundreds of years in order to break down and constitute a serious threat to the marine environment. Like most kinds of litter they follow waterways and end up into the sea where marine mammals, seabirds and other species often mistake them for food and die from suffocation, malnutrition or even toxicity... This project puts particular emphasis on the sensitization of the local community in order to reduce the use of plastic bags. Fabric bags willl be distributed to all households of the island so that the use of plastic ones can be avoided. The project includes educational and numerous participatory activities i.e. beach cleanup trips combined with litter monitoring and recording based on scientific protocols. As a result, the local community, tourists and visitors will have the opportunity to actively participate in the mitigation of their impact on the marine ecosystem and the island will be highlighted as an environmnentally friendly destination.
Our ambition is to make Alonissos the FIRST plastic bag free island in Greece, where the locals turn to a more balanced lifestyle in order to preserve nature.
The Blue Alonissos project includes several conservation actions that refer to the monitoring and study of local marine mammals. Volunteers are going to play a key role in the success of this initiative and their contribution is crucial for maintaining the various projects' outcomes after their implemetation period.
Dec. 2015: Alonissos: the first island without plastic bags in Greece! (Press Release)
Apr. 2016: Formation of a Coordinating Committee by the Municipality of Alonissos
Apr. 2016:Three-day participatory actions in Alonissos
July 2016: Alonissos says "Yes" to actions but "No" to Plastic Bags
Sept. 2016: Info-Day "The Plastic Bag Problem in Greece: Present Situation, Challenges and Best Practices"
Nov. 2016: Alonissos featured in the "Good Practices Guide" by Surfrider Foundation Europe