Eleven initiatives for combating plastic pollution were honoured, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Plastic pollution in the oceans is one of the most worrying environmental disasters threatening our future. When plastic is dumped into the environment, it can take up to 500 years to disappear.
Considering the impact that this plastic pollution has on marine ecosystems and resources, as well as on the quality of water and human health, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation Europe, the Tara Expeditions Foundation, the Mava Foundation and IUCN decided to join forces within the “Beyond plastic Med” (BeMed) Task Force, in order to mobilise and raise the awareness of civil society through specific actions.
The goal here is to create a Mediterranean network of local stakeholders (NGOs, groups, private stakeholders) committed to the fighting against plastic pollution, in order to develop exemplary projects.
Thus, in January 2017, BeMed launched a call for micro-initiatives involving all the countries in the Mediterranean Basin, in order to provide financial support to local projects aiming to reduce the plastic pollution on shores and in the sea. Eleven projects from Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Albania, Lebanon, Tunisia and Montenegro were honoured in Monaco on 30 March 2017, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, within the context of Monaco Ocean Week, which is currently being held in the Principality and is due to end on 4 April.
THE WINNERS FROM BEMED 1st CALL FOR MICRO-INITIATIVES
Active Skiathos Against Plastic bags (ASAP)
MEDITERRANEAN SOS Network (MedSOS) - Greece
The initiative consists of assessing the current status (in terms of plastic bag use and disposal), public involvement, environmental education and awareness activities at local, regional and national levels. Beach clean-ups will be also implemented serving both as an awareness tool and an assessment mechanism for the development of the baseline scenario. A public involvement approach will be used in order to unite organisations, the local community and stakeholders on the island, to build a sense of public ownership, to increase personal responsibility and to engage them in the Initiative. Environmental education will raise awareness among the educational community, targeting both students and educators. The distribution of reusable cotton bags will provide locals with an alternative to plastic bag use. ASAP will help to modify consumer habits towards more sustainable products and services and inspire local communities to protect the environment.
Arts against Plastic. PlastigeHayir!!
EDOSK - Turkey
Edirne is a city crossed by three rivers which eventually pour their waters and the plastic contained therein into the Mediterranean Sea. Littering and plastic pollution are a problem that several groups in the city would like to address but have never worked together to make it a reality. The initiative proposed by “PlastigeHayir!!” stems simply from a project run by the University of Trakya’s Art School, aimed at raising student awareness and at the same time taking advantage of Graphic Design lessons to develop info-graphics to educate various audiences. Based on those lessons, EDOSK has created a Facebook group called “PlastigeHayir!!” The initial aim of the group was to provide students with information about plastic pollution, but the group has grown and attracted the attention of the local, regional and even national press, with regard to an initiative to collect plastics from the banks of the Tunca River.
BLU MARINE SERVICE SOC COOP - Italy
The initiative consists of the organisation of 3 workshops in order to raise awareness concerning plastic pollution among the local stakeholders:
1. Workshop in San Benedetto del Tronto (AP) (Marche region)
2. Workshop in the Town of Martinsicuro (TE) (Abruzzo Region) Small scale fishery market
3. Workshop in Barcelona (Spain)
During the workshops, in which all the players involved (municipalities, stakeholders, waste management companies, sea food wholesalers, etc.) will take part, the following issues will be broached:
• Marine litter and the plastic pollution problem;
• The environmental impact of the use of plastic in fishing and aquaculture activities;
• The solutions available for reducing plastic on and offshore.
Charters will be developed with local authorities in order to involve them in the fight against plastic pollution, highlighting the importance of partnerships with economic players involved in packaging and waste management.
Fighting Plastic Pollution in Cyprus: The Responsible Beach Bars Initiative
AKTI Project and Research Centre - Cyprus
This initiative aims at committing Cypriot beach bars, snacks and restaurants, to taking responsibility for ‘their’ stretch of beach in order to protect it and minimise the amount of marine litter, especially plastic, left there by their customers. This will be achieved through a series of interrelated activities: to organise and implement a workshop bringing together beach bar representatives from around the island to record their opinions and views with regard to plastic waste; to identify the problems they face with regard to its management and to pinpoint easy to implement and effective solutions for its management; to develop a comprehensive guide for beach bars outlining the practices that they can implement to minimise plastic waste; to implement an extensive awareness-raising campaign in the summer of 2017 targeting all beach bars on the island, where a Guide and a Manual of Good Practice will be handed out. In addition to the awareness-raising campaign, a competition will be launching for the beach bars that have succeeded in managing/reducing plastic waste most effectively.
Plastic free beaches
Legambiente Onlus - Italy
The micro-initiative “Plastic Free Beaches” will address the problem of plastic littering in 30 coastal locations in Italy, Albania, Croatia and Greece. It is aimed at raising awareness among beach users, institutional and economic local stakeholders about the damage caused by plastic litter and thus promote the reduction of plastic waste and more effective sustainable tourism management of the areas concerned. The project provides for the following activities: voluntary activities for cleaning up the beaches; raising awareness of beach users (with participatory activities such as games and entertaining activities to reduce the use of disposable plastic, focusing on packaging); monitoring the analysis of beach litter; training operators with regard to the monitoring of beach litter, implementing the existing beach litter map in the English language; organising workshops (with mussel producers) on the loss and dispersion of fishing nets and technology innovation in regard to biodegradable nets. The initiative will involve residents and visitors, institutional and economic stakeholders, such as beach resorts and facilities, tourist structures and fishermen. Moreover, in areas most damaged by plastic, a specific monitoring system for all awareness activities will be put in place. This will serve as a pilot project to be replicated for other campaigns.
Promote Marine Plastic Pollution Reduction along the Albanian Coast
Agricultural University of Tirana - Albania
The project will define a strategy to reduce marine plastic pollution in the Albanian section of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, by involving the various stakeholders concerned (the fishing industry, researchers, policy-makers, NGOs and the recycling industry). At the end of the project, an initial assessment of marine plastic pollution in Albania’s coastal regions will be carried out, based on the data collected and actions implemented in pilot areas. The public and the various stakeholders concerned will have gained a better understanding of plastic pollution and its effects on marine biota. Thanks to awareness efforts, the public and local population will continue to promote the reduction of marine plastic debris even after the completion of the project. Focus will be placed on determining cross-cutting issues among the various stakeholders, identifying bottlenecks within their interaction, and providing the best practical solutions. Key stakeholders are all those who benefit from and depend on the marine environment (fishermen, aquaculture, tourism, transportation, local/regional authorities, and national authorities.
Relieving the Northern Lebanese Mediterranean Sea coast from abandoned nylon fishnets
Lebanese Developers - Lebanon
The Lebanese coast and sea are polluted by all kinds of plastic waste. Among the pollutants found on the Lebanese coast are the remains of nylon fishnets. This topic is not treated by any of the organizations working in Lebanon. This initiative is aimed at raising awareness of fishermen concerning nylon fishnets left at sea on the shore, as well as implementing the collection and the recycling of abandoned fishnets.
The local initiative “PlastiStop” is focused on 4 components. The 1st component involves organising several clean-up and litter picking campaigns to reduce the amount of plastic poured in the Mediterranean. These campaigns will be implemented at three levels; on beaches; in shallow coastal waters, with young participants equipped with a snorkelling kit in order to instil a conservation culture and educate future advocates of the marine environment; and with deep sea campaigns in the most vulnerable areas (coral reefs, caves, palm leaf pound traps in Mellita). The 2nd component of this initiative is the installation of a range of plastic collection equipments (boxes, dustbins, 10lt cans) in order to address the current lack of such facilities. The 3rd component concerns the training of 10 people (5 fishermen and 5 youngsters) who will be future ambassadors of the Med and will raise public awareness and ensure the sustainability of the initiative in coordination with the association. Finally, there will be an extensive media coverage of the Beyond Plastic Med initiative.
Prevent Plastic in the Mediterranean Sea
The focus of the initiative is to disseminate best practices, regarding plastic waste management and implement alternative actions in order to change the social behaviour and the behaviour of the tourism industry regarding the unsustainable use of plastics. The stakeholders of the initiative will be the local society, tourists, tour operators, municipalities, hoteliers, beach and sea users (fishermen and owners of boats).
The project aims at:
• Raising awareness through campaigns regarding plastic pollution
• Informing local authorities and tourism stakeholders regarding regulations and ways to be implemented effectively in order to safeguard the beaches from litter
• Organizing workshops to inform the hotel industry regarding sustainable practices
• Organizing workshops in elementary schools to inform and engage the young generations to limit the use of plastic
• Informing and engaging tourists to reduce the use of plastic during their stay in Cyprus using our working relationship with the major tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook.
Between the Adriatic and Ionian Sea
In the Vlora coastal region, from Porto Palermo in the Ionian Sea to the mouth of the Vjosa River in the Adriatic Sea, there are over 200,000 thousand residents. The excessive use of bags and other plastic items and mismanagement of waste from the Municipality has led to considerable quantities of waste ending up in the sea every day. Single-use plastic bags which degrade into micro-plastics and micro-beds of detergents and cosmetics become part of the food chain. The aim of the project is to educate the community and key maritime players, on how to minimize the use of plastic. Through lobbying and advocacy among decision makers it will encourage the Integrated Waste Management Plan to be completed and implemented as soon as possible. It will also impose high taxes on plastic bags which are distributed on the local markets. Involvement and education will be extended through the participation in the programme “Let’s Clean Albania” which will also include a sea clean-up by the Scuba SEEP team. It will educate youth in schools beginning with capacity building for their teachers regarding the dangers of plastic and how to minimize its use.
Encouraging beach users and snack bars to promote clean beaches in Velika Plaza, Ulcinj, Montenegro – VelikaPlasticFree
Regional Development Agency – Ulcinj Business Association (RDA – UBA) - Montenegro
Recent studies based on items found on Mediterranean beaches (ARCADIS 2014, Öko-Institute, 2012) indicate a predominance of land-based litter, stemming mostly (40 to 50%) from recreational/tourism activities. This project aims at raising awareness and changing behaviours.
Snack bars on Velika Plaza will be approached in order to involve them in the project. Providing them with the resources for concrete action (e.g. information fact-sheets, wooden cutlery, bins for plastic waste) will be a way of ensuring their participation. Beach users will be targeted by posters displayed in snack bars and other communication tools. They will also be encouraged to take part in a photo competition on the topic of marine litter and clean coasts.
Communication will be key throughout the project not only to reach the local target groups but also to upscale the impact, thus inspiring other coastal areas in Montenegro and beyond to adopt litter-free practices on beaches. For instance, the photo competition will be highly promoted via social media and TV. A final brochure will be produced, focused on best practices, including an easy step guide for snack bars and beach users alike. It will be widely distributed to stakeholders working in the tourist and environment sectors.
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