#zeroplastic

Awareness Raising Campaign against Plastic Debris and Microplastics in the Greek Seas

The issue

It has been estimated that million of tons of plastic debris find their way into the oceans every year. The predictions are dramatic with recent research showing that by 2050 there will be more plastics in the seas than fish.

In Greece, plastic waste ending in aquatic ecosystems exceeds 50% of total waste. The wide range of shapes, sizes, and impurities, in combination with the high capacity for dispersion of the plastic products through the air and the water, are responsible for multiple input sources, making the management of the issue particularly difficult.

The microplastics represent an important proportion of plastics in the oceans. Microplastics are small plastics with a diameter of less than 5 mm and are usually divided into two sub-categories: the primary microplastics, which are purposefully produced (<5 mm) to be included in many everyday products, such as toothpaste, personal care creams, cosmetics, etc. and secondary microplastics, which are the result of fragmentation (break down) of larger plastic items. Regardless of their sources, the presence of microplastics in the marine ecosystems has a negative impact on marine organisms, ecosystems, and on humans.

The problem of plastic waste is directly related to modern daily life. The production of plastic over the last decades has increased significantly due to the advantages of plastic compared to other materials. Now, understanding the problem, it's time to react. New European legislation promotes the ban of primarily single-use plastic, but we need to change our consumption habits first.

 

2019 actions
During 2019 an awareness-raising campaign against plastic debris and microplastics in the Greek seas was conducted. The campaign included multiple actions. The first step of the campaign aimed to inform the public about the problem of plastic pollution and its effects on marine organisms. The second step focused on the promotion of a zero-waste lifestyle. Informational and educational materials were created in order to achieve the goals of the campaign, live streaming interviews with researchers were carried out, events addressing tourism industry and youth groups were organized and coastal clean ups were operated.

#zeroplastic diving centres

The goal

iSea aims to continue the implementation of the project and raise the number of beneficiaries with a special focus to raise awareness about plastic pollution to the tourism industry through diving centers. Diving centers host thousands of visitors annually. Their financial sustainability depends on the sustainability of the marine environment. In addition, divers are highly connected to the marine environment and willing to contribute to its protection. Thus, the campaign will maintain its twofold approach aiming to raise awareness about the issue both through events and direct actions.

  • Actions
    • Established collaboration with diving centers aiming to assess the disposal of single-use plastics coming from diving center activities. The goal of the collaboration is to minimize the single-use plastics and the products containing microplastics they use in the context of their activities. The quantities of these products will be assessed through frequent reporting of the diving centers and iSea will propose actions and appropriate replacements for their reduction. Their reduction will be also assessed after the adoption of the proposed actions.
    • Participating in diving centers will create a “corner” where visitors will be informed about the issue of plastic pollution and microplastics.
    • Underwater clean-ups will be implemented aiming both the direct removal of marine litter and the awareness-raising of the local community, but also the data collection based on the Project Aware guidelines.
    • Awareness raising events aiming to inform the tourism industry will be organized.

 

#zeroplastic Greece - Cyprus

The project continues aiming in raising awareness to a bigger amount of citizens and bussines in the tourism sector in Greece and Cyprus.

More specifically, the following actions will be implemented in the context of the project:

  • Creation of informative material, aiming at raising awareness about the effects of plastic litter on aquatic ecosystems
  • Dissemeniation of the informative material to tourism business and public events
  • Raising awareness to the public about the issue of of marine litter through public artworks
  • Active involvement of diving centers in Cyprus in order to inform and educate their customers regarding the issue of marine litter, how to reduce the use of single use plastics in the context of their activities and implementing underwater clean ups

The project is implemented with the support of OceanCare and Beyond Plastic Med.

#zeroplastic map of diving centers and photography exhibition spots.

Communication Materials

Events Calendar

 

Research

The knowledge and attitude of the Greek public towards marine plastic pollution and the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive were investigated by interpreting the results of a questionnaire.

The issue of marine plastic pollution has been highlighted by scientists and in Greece, consultation and resolution about the implementation of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive have already been carried out. However, the results of our study showed that participants were not informed about the issue of marine plastic pollution nor the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive. Nevertheless, they expressed positive attitudes, including their willingness to pay and act in order to reduce their plastic waste.

Taking into account the findings of the study, it is recommended that more actions should support the publicity of the Directive so that the Greek public would be able to actively participating in the decision-making process and its effective implementation. In addition, the topic of microplastics is suggested to be integrated into the context of formal education.

Find the full publication and results here.

Articles in the Greek Press 

Collaborators

                          

           Anna Maria Addamo
  European Commission Joint Research Center
National Museum of Natural Sciences - MNCN

 

Participants 

                                          

Funders

       

 

Find the final report for 2019 here

Find the final report for 2020 here

Find the final report for 2021 here