Marine environment
The Foundation was established in late 2015 and operates with thematic areas regarding the protection of the marine environment and the combat against pollution on seabed and coasts, and boosst employment and entrepreneurship through “The People's Trust” - a non-profit company with the foundation's exclusive funding - which helps people of all ages start their own business. The foundation runs the “Sea-Change Greek Islands” program for mapping pollution on Greek coasts and Greek seabed on 10 small Cycladic islands. The aim is to achieve the decontamination of the area and educate the residents, local communities and students to keep the program going. It is a five-year gradually evolving experiment. A network has been set up, involving 29 organizations, universities, research centers, a think tank and some companies. It is a program that aims a change of mentality. It started with coastal cleanups, using materials that are reusable and environmentally friendly according to EU provisions and with the help of technology field data was recorded and processed, with the aim of proper waste collection and management, which is difficult specifically on islands such as the Cyclades. Insularity in Greece is a very interesting term that bares unique characteristics, but it is a very difficult circumstance when it comes to waste management and other environmental issues. The highest percentage of waste collected was the cigarette butts, but through the program the number has significantly reduced. 78% of the waste on shores and seabed is plastic. Garbage found near ports, such as motorcycles, car seats, supermarket baskets, tires and batteries made a big impression to the researchers. Donoussa, a very small island but very positive about cooperation, since April 2019, has tried to return in an era without disposable plastics. In Serifos, on a free beach, a special smoking zone was created where in 40 days more than 4,500 cigarette butts were collected. The new mayor wants to run the same experiment for all the beaches of the island. This action brought the Foundation to the finalists at the Innovation in Politics Award in Berlin. In Folegandros, special actions were taken for the disposal of cigarette butts. Paper cones were given to the visitors to put their cigarette butts in and dispose them as they were leaving the beach in the appropriate waste bins. In Kimolos, lending libraries were organized in old boats and placed on several beaches of the island. In the islands of the “Sea-Change” program activities for children were organized and materials were given to them so they can “become” environment and sea observers on their island in order to check and see what is wrong and how they can change it, using an open line with the Foundation to request information, materials and be directed to new actions. The “Sea-Change” clubs, which are environmental clubs in schools with interactive communication, have been organized throughout the year. The program was also implemented in a Special Primary School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children with great success. There is also a large scale experiment “The Typhoon” which is a ship that can operate all year round, has its own permanent staff and special research teams that board when needed and perform 310 waste collections, in accessible and inaccessible beaches. The total weight of the waste collected was 41.5 tons from beaches where there is no activity, i.e. areas where there are no beach bars, hotels or there is no obligation for anybody to clean the beach. It is interesting that in a large scale cleaning process, some quality elements are also monitored. That is, where does this waste come from, is it Greek waste? Is waste coming from abroad? If it comes from abroad, is it coming from passing ships, just throwing rubbish into the sea? Is it something that comes with the currents? Also, how old are the materials? Chronological indications is studied to check how and how much the materials can resist the sea, the open air and the sun. Everything that was collected on the beach was recorded and there is a very extensive database available. Also, the fishermen with the trawlers of Greece - 258 in total - were asked to help through their daily usual fishing activity, that is, to record and distinguish the rubbish they find from the depth of 50 meters. This resulted to 8.5 tons of waste in three months that consisted from all-purpose plastics and plastics from fishing activities.
Short title:
The Athanasios K. Laskaridis Public Benefit Foundation and its actions for the marine environment.
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Project leader:
Greek Permanent Committee on Research and Technology (GPCRT)