The CPF is happy to work together with the Aegean Rebreath team (winner of the Advocate Europe competition) for the establishment of Greece’s first marine litter collection station on Antiparos island. The pilot project will be coordinated by local authorities, together with student and fishing communities, with the aim to better inform locals, visitors and the public about the threats of marine litter and its decomposition into non-visible pieces, as well as to promote the principles of a circular economy (recycling & upcycling).
During the first 5 months of the project significant steps have been taken towards the implementation of the “Recycle the Seas – Cyclades” project, in terms of engaging key stakeholders and ensuring project sustainability.
So, the first step included consultation with the local authorities and local groups which resulted in the initial acceptance of the project by all social actors as well as the signing of an MoU between Aegean Rebreath and the Municipality of Antiparos. Such an MoU includes the implementation of cleanup activities, the establishment of a marine litter collection station, the classification and storage of marine litter and its transfer to recycling and upcycling units on a 3 months basis. In the meantime, Aegean Rebreath ensured building synergies while increasing organizational capacity in order to carry out training and research activities.
The second major step included the implementation of an introductory initiative in Antiparos that involved widespread coastal and underwater activities, awareness events at the primary school of the island, consultation events involving local society and fishermen association, production of video material for raising awareness. The high participation apart from engaging actors from different groups delivered a clear message to local authorities that, inter alia, witnessed the recovery of a ton of marine litter. The fact that all local groups agreed on the active role they could demonstrate within the context of the project, further boosted local authorities confidence and built trust for the project outcomes.
The establishment of the marine litter collection station is currently on progress, therefore Aegean Rebreath team is working on ensuring channeling of recyclable material in recycling and upcycling units. In this context, within the following days our team is expected to sign an MoU with a major Foundation in Greece that will collect, transfer and upcycle all nets and plastics recovered through Antiparos marine litter station. Furthermore, Aegean Rebreath came to agreement with ΣΥΔΙΣΑΠΑ for collecting, transferring and processing recyclable material in Paros island. Therefore, it is clear that during the first months of the project Aegean Rebreath focused on ensuring that all prerequisites for the project success and viability have been met and common objectives among local stakeholders have been set.
Today, the municipal authorities of Antiparos acknowledge that the marine litter station inspired the local authorities and individuals to build a recycling system in the island. Today, Antiparos is ranked fourth in recycling among all Aegean islands.
Furthermore, the engagement of the local fishing community is impressive, since local fishermen in cooperation with Aegean Rebreath encouraged fishing community in Santorini to set up nets collection points.
Most important, the Antiparos pilot project provided useful conclusions at national level, since other municipalities have asked from
Aegean Rebrath to establish similar stations. Nowadays, our partner has established 3 more stations in two islands (Paros, Syros) and 3 more are under development, while 3 net collections points (Santorini, Leukada) are already operational.
And some numbers:
After 6 months of operations (06-12.2019) the quantities collected through the Antiparos
station are the following:
Nets: 1,45 tones
Finally, due to the activities undertaken by the local fishing community in cooperation with Aegean Rebreath, the Antiparos station received almost a 1.5 ton of nets from Santorini.
We feel saying a big thank you to all these individuals supporting our common work in Antiparos island as well as to BlueCycle for receiving and processing all these quantities of nets in their lab.