Organized by the Sea Change Greek Islands, an initiative sponsored by the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation, the officials of Donoussa island have agreed to ban all use of single-use plastics on the island, including but not limited to: plastic bags, straws, cups, plates and cutlery.
Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades, Dimitris Lianos, said: “Continuing the activities that started a year ago, we are making Donoussa the first Aegean island without single-use plastics. We hope our example will inspire other island municipalities, so that we might, eventually, make Greece a very special hospitality destination”.
By cutting out the plastics that we use only for a moment, but which cause long-term damage to the environment, Sea Change Greek Islands and the inhabitants of Donoussa hope to send a message to the world that a permanent change, even on a Greek island dependant on tourists, can easily be made.
The program will be kicked off on, Friday April 5th. The Sea Change team will stay on the island for three days for what is being called a “multi-tiered intervention”, presenting a number of activities including an educational program for kids, cleaning of beaches, as well as the underwater cleaning of the main port. They will also offer a reusable drinking cups to every single inhabitant, along with biodegradable bags and straws to businesses.
Aside from their battle against single-use plastics, the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation also frequently organizes beach cleanings throughout Greece – many of them through the Sea Change Greek Islands framework, which has been active on 10 Cycladic islands so far (Amorgos, Anafi, Donoussa, Irakleia, Kimolos, Koufounisi, Serifos, Sikinos, Schinoussa and Folegandros). Completely banning single-use plastics on Donoussa will be the project’s biggest challenge so far.
Last year, Sikinos island took a similar big step by replacing all plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives.
On Donoussa, they also cooperate with the organizers of the increasingly popular Donoussa Trail Running event. The competition, which draws many amateur athletes to Donoussa in October (thus extending the tourism season on the island) takes runners along the 13 km of trails across the hills that are cleaned by the organizers and other volunteers throughout the year.
They have said no to plastic bottles during the event, and instead serve fresh spring-water at the aid stations – now in recycled vessels from Sea Change Greek Islands.