The "Plastic bag free Alonissos" project has started officially. The project is implemented by the Mediterranean SOS Network and MOm/The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal with the collaboration of the Municipality of Alonissos that had already decided to initiate on the issue, and is funded by THALASSA Foundation.
This project aims to reduce considerably the use of plastic carrier bags in an island of high environmental value, and make Alonissos the first “plastic bag free” island in Greece. The project is expected to contribute to the protection of the coastal and marine environment of Alonissos, an island that hosts the most important existing population of the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus in the Mediterranean basin, and highlight Alonissos as an alternative tourism destination at the same time. During the project 2,000 cloth bags out of 100% cotton will be distributed to households of the island. Also, a wide range of awareness-raising tools together with educational activities for students, seminars and workshops for teachers, and other participatory processes involving local bodies will be implemented.
Initially, during 2-6/10, voluntary cleanups of three beaches in the area of Peristera (Vasilikos bay) and another one of Planitis beach at Kyra Panagia were realized, involving volunteers and representatives of the above mentioned organizations. These two islets are part of the National Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades (NMPANS). More than 5,500 liters of waste were collected, most of which was plastic, as reflected in the special Record Sheet, which was completed during cleanups. This first group of actions also included a school cleanup at Tsoukalia, on Tuesday, 6th of October, involving almost 100 students and teachers from the Nursery and Primary School of Alonissos
Moreover, on Sunday, October 4th, at the City Hall, representatives of the competent organizations had the opportunity to meet with businessmen of the island, whose participation is crucial for the success of the whole venture. During the meeting, there was a brief presentation of the project and of the environmental problem that it aims to address followed by a very interesting discussion on the project’s next steps. The attendees supported the idea of eliminating single use plastic carrier bags in Alonissos.
The starting point of this effort will be December 1st 2015, as suggested by the Mayor, Mr. Petros Vafinis, when businessmen of the island will start the gradual replacement of plastic bags in order to succeed their “disappearance” in the short term.