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Photo of Rubbish-filled Zakynthos Shipwreck Beach Goes Viral

Navagio beach, Zakynthos. Photo source: @Visit Greece

A photo of Zakynthos’ most famous site, Navagio Beach, also known as “Shipwreck Beach”, filled with rubbish went viral this week creating a stir among local and government authorities.

The photograph depicts a pair of tourists taking a selfie with a pile of garbage in the forefront on the beach, which is among the most Instgrammed destinations in the world.

The photo, taken and posted on Facebook by environmentalist Michalis Bakas, was even featured on the front page of Greek daily Kathimerini. Speaking to public broadcaster ERT on Tuesday, Bakas said the scene was an insult to the site and to Greece.

The incident caused a commotion among Zakynthos’ municipal authorities who blamed the tourism ministry for the rubbish. Earlier this year the ministry had announced the creation of a special committee that would oversee the world-famous site.

According to Zakynthos Mayor Nikitas Aretakis, “the tourism ministry has set up a committee for Navagio Beach which is responsible for its proper and smooth operation”.

“We do not have any jurisdiction over the site anymore,” he told

According to Stavros Koulouris, president of the city council, guards patrolling the beach daily should have informed the said committee.

Last year, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced the creation of a special five-member committee to be responsible for the preservation and safe management of the famous beach which however had caused a stir among opposition parties and local stakeholders.

A similar announcement had been made in 2020 for the creation of the Zakynthos Shipwreck Management and Operation Agency and in 2019 for the overhaul and the creation of a theme park on the site.

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  1. Zeus Reply

    Greeks never been good in taking care of their treasures! If you compare Greece to Italy, the Italians are much better in marketing a destination and take care of. Here in Greece, things are free, you can be in a village walking around ruins from hundreds of years old without have to pay for, and that is unique, this is the natural beauty of Greece. However Greeks do not take care of what is theirs. in Athens, forget about recycling on the suburbs, it is disgusting, there is no education from the government and Greeks feels that it is their right to renovate their homes and use the street trash bin as their own. Instead of doing the right thing which is to hire a special trash bin to be used for the renovation. The education start from home with a most simple attitude, learn to recycle. We cannot blame only tourists for the trash left behind. Greeks are also part of the problem. This leave the government with the responsibility to create marketing campaigns to educate the locals so when the locals see tourists doing wrong they can call them out! After all, Greece is one of the most natural beautiful country in the world and needs to be looked after for future generations to come.

  2. Nika Reply

    I was literally there on and there was no rubbish in site. The beach was only negative was that we were given 40 mins on the beach by the boat crew who took us there,but Because there was other boat who was dropping off and picking up other tourists we had to clear the water for th to do so,our 40 mins felt like five mins no the to enjoy proper soak in the water. But I will go again water was lush.

  3. Andrew Penny Reply

    Start by eliminating single use plastics bags in the stores. First step. I have never seen so many plastic bags strewn around in the streets of Athens and blowing around in the wind, filling dumpsters etc.. I have been to many cities around the world and Athens ranks up there as one of the worst for garbage strewn streets. With exception of the tourist areas, Athens is filthy disgusting. Second new innovate laws need to be written to eliminate so much waste. The gov’t must begin instituting progressive laws that require companies to use recycled materials and reduce waste. There can be no more throw away society mentality if you are to achieve these goals of cleaner environment.
    Thirdly Hit people and companies that do not abide by these environment rules where it hurts most, Heavy fines. That includes individuals who throw aluminum, bottles, plastic etc… in the oceans, beaches, city streets.


    It would not take much for each one of the arriving boats, carrying the polluters, to take some garbage and to keep the place clean!


    Sounds typical for the Dr Minister who seems to talk a LOT, and is in the news everyday, but on the ground NOTHING GETS DONE…. much like many politicians, and maybe even worse in Greece!

  6. Clément Reply

    Let’s be serious, and this photo is an excellent news! When people are getting aware of the necessity to reduce dramatically our wastes and to clean our seas?
    Greeks are probably the first ones in this country to contribute to generate plastic waste and probably the first ones to throw their frappé plastic cups in the wild.
    If influent people keep posting this kind of waste-filled beaches photos, maybe the government will finally beging to address seriously this problem to keep tourists to come…

  7. J. Lazaris Reply

    This is a perfect example of over tourism. Truly disgusting.

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