The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) in 2021 held a record number of cleanup operations on Greek coasts, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup campaign for the prevention of marine pollution.
As the campaign’s national coordinator for the last 31 years, HELMEPA, during 18 September – 30 November successfully carried out 196 cleanup operations all over Greece, covering a total of 130km of coastline with the participation of 5,360 volunteers.
HELMEPA members and volunteers collected 283,831 items weighing 19,5 tons. They also contributed to a scientific study by providing valuable data on the amount, type, and origin of marine litter.
The association found that cigarette butts and single-use plastics topped the list of litter found on Greek coasts.
A total of 3,112 items related to personal protective equipment for Covid-19 such as masks and single-use gloves were also collected.
Young people actively participated in HELMEPA’s campaign for 2021 by taking action for the protection of Greece’s marine and coastal environment: among them were students and teachers from kindergartens, primary schools, high schools and lyceums as well as the association’s “Youth Ambassadors”.
In addition, HELMEPA members, shipping companies and organizations contributed to the association’s cleanup initiatives in 2021 along with municipalities, port authorities and citizens.