At the 56th Aegean Rally
31 Jul 2019
For the second consecutive year, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA supported the Aegean Rally organized by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club. Two symbolic coastal cleanups were organized in Astypalea (July 22) and Milos (July 26), in collaboration with Local Authorities and the Navy, sending the message “To Save our Seas”.
The Hellenic Offshore Racing Club and JOTUN, the official sponsor of the 56th Aegean Rally, held a Press Conference on July 17th where HELMEPA’s Chairman Dr. G. Gratsos participated. The Hellenic Offshore Racing Club welcomed the skippers and crews at Battleship “G. Averof” for the final details and the race began on July 19th.
The first stop was Astypalea island, where the beach of Vrisi was cleaned, with a large number of crew and Navy personnel being involved. The second and last stop was Milos island where the crews cleaned the beach in front of the Nautical Club where also a lot of volunteers participated, which pleased both the organizers and HELMEPA, as the work that was carried out was substantial. In an effort to reduce the use of plastics, the bags for garbage collection during the cleanups were biodegradable.
The Astypalea Nautical Club presented to HELMEPA a plaque as an indication of appreciation for all the activities that took place on the island.
The 56th Aegean Rally Prize Ceremony was as always held at the Aegean Naval Administration.
We would like to warmly thank our Corporate Member Blue Star Ferries for assisting in the transportation of HELMEPA officers.
HELMEPA would like to congratulate all the participants and hopes their example will raise awareness to all those enjoying the Greek seas and coasts to keep them clean.
The Campaign “Let’s Clean Up Europe” was completed with the participation of thousands of HELMEPA volunteers
15 Jul 2019
The European Voluntary Cleanup Campaign, co-ordinated in Greece by HELMEPA during May and June 2019, has been a success for yet another year.
In Greece, 5,500 volunteers from 151 public and private entities organized 107 cleanup activities on beaches, seafloor, rivers and lakes, forests, parks and neighbourhoods over an area of 58 km in length. They collected 10.7 tons of waste, of which 3.2 tons were recycled with the collaboration of the Hellenic Recycling Recovery Company (Ε.Ε.Α.Α.).
The volunteers also contributed to HELMEPA’s annual research on the quantities, composition and origin of litter as they recorded what they collected. This data show the following 10 most commonly found types of litter that pollute our natural environment.
|Styrofoam pieces of more than 2.5 cm||3,092|
|Plastic cups and lids||2,329|
|Glass bottles and pieces||2,195|
|Ropes and strings||1,919|
In total, the volunteers collected 80,652 pieces of garbage ranging from small pieces of styrofoam to a spit, a motorbike and a refrigerator! The 12,760 cigarette butts are again at the top while plastic caps, straws, bottles, bags and glasses follow and are associated with recreational activities. Especially for beaches and the seabed, this image is a miniature of the global pollution problem, mainly with plastics, of coasts, seas and seabed.
At the link https://bit.ly/2XnvB04 you can see the map of the areas where cleanups were conducted. HELMEPA staff had the opportunity to briefly inform volunteers about the problem of pollution, mainly from plastics, during the cleanups organized by HELMEPA member companies as well as during cleanups at the beaches of Freattyda and Schinias, Hera of Perachoras, Astypalaia and Kalamata.
Once again, the involvement of the educational community at this initiative was remarkable. Children and volunteer teachers members of “HELMEPA Junior”, young volunteers of “HELMEPA Cadets” and other pupils of all ages from Kindergartens, Primary and High Schools spread the word to their fellow citizens through their actions.
Coastal cleanups were carried out by the following 7 member companies’ staff with their families, expressing their voluntary commitment to protect the marine environment as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility of the Greek maritime community: Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd., Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Hellas) SPLLC, Dianik Bross Shipping Corporation SA, Eurobulk Ltd., Kyla Shipping & Trading Corp., Load Line Marine SA and Sea World Management & Trading Inc.
Local and Port Authorities, Protected Area Management Entities, environmental and cultural associations, diving centers and citizens’ initiatives were all actively involved in the cleanups.
Commemorative Diplomas were awarded to all co-ordinators, children and young volunteers. HELMEPA congratulates all volunteers who highlight the fact that only through proper information and collective actions can the environmental problems of our time be addressed. Let’s hope that their example will become the trigger to a more responsible behaviour towards the natural environment.
As the protection of the marine environment requires a continuous effort, we expect everyone to participate in our next Worldwide Voluntary Cleanup Campaign, between September 14th and October 31st 2019. Further details will be announced shortly on HELMEPA’s website (www.helmepa.gr/en