Messinia: A holistic, pilot intervention for single use plastics

Messinia: A holistic, pilot intervention for single use plastics

An innovative program to raise public awareness over single-use plastics, limit their use, prevent them from ending up in the marine environment and protect important habitats in Messinia with the sponsorship of Nescafe. The program included a series of holistic initiatives and targeted interventions implemented for the first time in Greece.

Research on the consumption of single use plastics

As part of the project, we consulted with professionals from coffee shops, hoteliers as well as with residents and visitors of Kalamata, in order to collect valuable data on the situation regarding the use of single use plastics in the area. The research concerned the consumption and recycling of single use plastics as well as the trends regarding the implementation of the relevant European directive in the region of Kalamata and the wider prefecture of Messinia. The survey, which involved 450 consumers, 15 central coffee shops and 10 hotel units, yielded some very interesting findings which led to substantiated proposals for action involving all relevant bodies, companies and industry.

A report with the findings of the research was submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Energy and to the Deputy Minister in charge of Environmental Protection, G. Amyras, and his staff.

Installation of a trash trap (net) in a river to prevent marine pollution

In the framework of our cooperation with the Municipality of Kalamata, we performed a pilot installation of a special “trash trap” net at the mouth of the river Nedontas on the beach of Kalamata in order to retain imported materials and litter before they end up in the sea.

Practically, the purpose of the net is to retain litter from the city, which would be swept away by the torrent and end up in the sea. The litter is collected by the cleaning services of the Municipality of Kalamata, while all the materials trapped are also recorded.

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With the slogan “We take action on land before the litter reaches our seas” we placed environmental awareness signs, which inform citizens about marine pollution issues, in busy areas of Kalamata.

The signs are intended to awaken the public (residents and visitors of the city) about the real situation of marine pollution with illustrations that highlight the huge problem of single use plastics in relation to marine life. Birds and fish appear trapped in plastic bags, bottles or cups of coffee, realistically indicating what is really happening in our seas: marine fauna suffers, suffocating by the choices and actions of people on land, with a direct impact not only on the sea life and balance of the ecosystem but also human health.

Protecting the important habitat of Voidokilia

Voidokilia is not only one of the most famous beaches in Greece, but also a place of immense ecological value for many species of animals, including migratory birds and sea turtles. Beside, this is the reason why this whole ecosystem, together with the Divari lagoon, has been included in the Natura 2000 network. By demarcating the dunes, we have solved the chronic problem of uncontrolled encroachment of the dunes by passing vehicles and illegal camping. Moreover, by placing signs in prominent spots, the visitor is informed about the environmental value of the area and is called to respect this sensitive ecosystem. Our action in the area is continuous, by monitoring the results of our intervention in order to develop good practices that will be used in other protected areas in the future.

Watch the relevant video!