The October 13-19 actions of the A.S.A.P. (Active Skiathos Against Plastic bag) project proved very successful. The key aim was not only to provide residents with all the information on the effects of plastic bags on the marine environment but also, to instigate a substantial and fruitful exchange leading Skiathos to a new era with fewer plastic bags.
The A.S.A.P. project, which is funded by the BeMed – Beyond Plastic Med initiative, Thalassa Foundation, the Municipality of Skiathos, the Mediterranean SOS Network and is supported by the Cultural Association of Skiathos, has a life cycle of 14 months, extending from May 2017 to June 2018.
True to its strong belief that the raising of awareness of youngsters is the “cornerstone” of every effort for sustainability, the Mediterranean SOS Network visited all Skiathos schools to inform approximately 500 students on the issue of marine pollution caused by plastic bags. The students were enthusiastically engaged in the presentations and offered their proposals and opinions through the specially designed worksheets handed out to them, under the approved by the Ministry of Education programme “Once upon a time there was the plastic bag…”
On Wednesday, October 11th, the “Open Discussion for a plastic-bag-free Skiathos” was held in the Events Hall of the Cultural Center “Bourtzi”. Tens of participants, among which residents, shop-keepers and collectives’ representatives, attended the event and offered valuable insight and ideas on the reduction of plastic bags on the island. The event started with short greetings and statements by Vice Mayor Mr. Costas Yannitsis, the President of the Cultural Association of Skiathos, Mr. Thodoris Tzoumas, and the Mediterranean SOS Network’s Project Manager of A.S.A.P, Ms. Christina Garoufalia.
The common ground of all statements was the importance of the A.S.A.P. project in changing the mentality, coupled with the aim to upgrade Skiathos and thus attract more environmentally aware tourists.
An equally important part of the event was the speech given by Mr. Panayotis Tsoukanas, President of the Municipal Council and the Cultural Association of Alonissos, who contributed valuable information on the implementation of the “Plastic Bag Free Alonissos” project to the discussion. The short statements were closed by the President of the Greek Guiding Association Ms. Yannoula Kokoliou and representatives of other bodies who referred to related initiatives in Skiathos.
During the core part of the event in the form of a workshop, participants discussed proposals and ideas leading to the disengagement of the island from plastic bags. Indicatively, the basic ideas that stood out were the intensification of awareness-raising for the residents and education of children, the development of a web application supporting the effort to reduce plastic bags, the undertaking of initiatives by local businesses (shopkeepers/hoteliers, etc.), fund-raising and the creation of a coordinating committee responsible for noting progress of actions. Participants then worked on and further developed the above proposals with the aim of applying best practices. The results of this process will lead to a comprehensive Action Plan to be submitted to the Municipality of Skiathos.
Finally, within the framework of the 4-day actions, on Tueday October 10th, a symbolic beach cleanup of Siferi beach was organized. In the afternoon of the same day, there was a street-event, which attracted the attention of many passers-by.