The biggest clean up effort of Antiparos island took place this past weekend!
Aegean Rebreath decided to set up a marine litter collection programme on Antiparos island with the mission to make the local community (especially the fishermen and schoolchildren) realise how plastic litter and abandoned fishing gear negatively affects them and to support the municipality to deal with the situation. The idea is to organise multiple clean ups of the island throughout the year, sort and send the trash to recycling / up cycling centres, and understand what kind of litter collects there and why. Antiparos' small size makes it ideal for such an effort. Aegean Rebreath's plan is to copy this process on other islands.
The weekend activities were funded by the Cyclades Preservation Fund with the support of the Antiparos mayor, staff from the Antiparos municipality, particularly Mr. Artemis Triantafilos, who was responsible for coordinating the various events and Plastic Free Greece.
The weekend clean up festivities lasted for 3 days! Friday began with Aegean Rebreath and Plastic Free Greece discussing plastic pollution at the local school to stoke the excitement and increase the participation of the school children and members of the community. Saturday was dedicated to clean ups - Aegean Rebreath divers (along with local fishermen and divers from Blue Island Divers, who pointed out where to dive) retrieved many meters of abandoned fishnets, ropes and tires, along with other litter from the sea bed, while the school children cleaned footpaths on Antiparos and decorated 3 recycling bins. The rest of the teams and volunteers, including Sustainable Living Paros and Plastic Free Greece, cleaned beaches on Despotiko, a small uninhabited island to the west of Antiparos. Sunday was dedicated to sorting the collected rubbish, both to understand what type of litter was collected and in order to send recyclables to various locations on Paros and Athens for recycling and up cycling.
Sad funfact: 120 shoes were collected from the beaches!!!!
Many additional people need to be thanked for the success of this weekend: Sandra Marinopoulou, from the Museum of Cycladic Art, for the presents she distributed to the participating school children; Yanos Kouragios, the archaeologist excavating the Temple of Apollo on Despotiko, who lent us his wheelbarrows to carry the trash from the beaches to the waiting fishing boats, Giorgos "Sargos" and Dimitris who transported the volunteers to and from Despotiko; Pipinos "Bakas" from taverna Akrogiali who also helped bring back the collected litter from Despotiko; Takis Eftathianos, president of Antiparos En Plo; the president of the Parent Association of the local elementary school, Tatiana Kontouli; the Antiparos Coast Guard and the Antiparos Police. We also thank Damianos Viazis, Simonas Triantafilos, Dimitris Patelis and Yannis Pantelakis.