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Paros wants to be the first Mediterranean island to ban single-use plastic
Posted on 20/08/2019

EnvironmentGreece

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As if you needed another reason to visit Greece, the island of Paros wants to ban all single-use plastic.

Paros, an idyllic Aegean island speckled with whitewashed houses and charming fishing boats, is taking steps to become Greece's first plastic-free destination. Every year, the island's population almost triples in size, bringing with it a whole host of waste management issues, but Clean Blue Paros is hoping to change things for the better. The Clean Blue Alliance, an offshoot of the NGO Common Seas, is working closely with officials and local businesses on the island to bring in robust sustainability practices and hopefully remove plastic from its ecosystem.

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According to Clean Blue Alliance, waste on Paros increases by 350% during the high season, and its landfills are almost at capacity. On the island, bottled water is prefered by both residents and visitors. Although the water company insists the water they provide is drinkable, it's widely believed to be unfit for consumption. Many dumpsters and trash cans remain open on the island, meaning that garbage and recycling can be blown away. Additionally, in Greece as a whole, around 1,000 plastic to-go cups are discarded per day during the summer high season, and it's believed that 95% of the waste produced in the Mediterranean is plastic.

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© kiterin/123RF

Locals have stepped up initiatives to reduce the island's use of disposable plastic. The Paros branch of Clean Blue Alliance, Clean Blue Paros, is partnering with local businesses to get them plastic-free. At the start, over 40 businesses signed on to reduce or completely eradicate their use of disposable plastic. The project was launched in May.

Water filters are being installed in restaurants and schools to reduce the number of plastic bottles, and school children and staff are being supplied with refillable bottles. Signs have been posted in the airport so that visitors can see what's expected of them during their stay on Paros. A large number of businesses have signed onto the project, reducing or eliminating their use of disposable plastic and receiving a badge from the initiative.

The initiatives in Paros come on the heels of Capri's single-use plastic ban. Those caught using non-recyclable plastic on the Italian island can be fined up to 500 EUR. The ban also went into effect in May. Officials in Paros seek not only to ban non-recyclable plastic, but all plastic waste. They hope to be the first island in the Mediterranean to do so.

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