Last Sunday, major collaboration efforts were made to clean the inaccessible coasts of the eastern part of Samos where tons of waste (life jackets, refugee boats & other plastics) have been accumulating due to the refugee crisis. Most of this waste can be found in steep coasts where refugee boats usually end up.

Cleaning these coasts is a particularly difficult task, which requires teamwork and a lot of manpower. This initiative was made real by the mobilization of many hundreds of people: 106 local organizations of Samos, as well as NGOs from abroad who are currently situated in the island to help relief the refugee crisis. Many tons of waste were collected, while the efforts will continue in the coming weeks. The Archipelagos Institute participated with a 45-member team of researchers and interns of the Institute, as well as a student group of Otrokovice Technical High School from the Czech Republic who are currently attending a course in Archipelagos.

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In cooperation with Samos Divers the Association, who had the general coordination of this major cleanup operation and with various other organizations and individuals who offered their vessels for the purpose, hundreds of people were able to access and clean the steep coasts of the area, which cannot be accessed otherwise. After the waste was collected from the coasts and sea, damaged boats were cut in pieces and with great effort bulky pieces from numerous of broken boats were loaded into large inflatable boats. All this waste was transported to the trucks that were waiting to collect them at nearby beaches.

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These efforts should be expanded onto other islands of the eastern Aegean Sea where tons of plastic waste has been accumulating for almost many months now. It is important for the cleanup to be done before the start of summer, as strong north winds that come with it will disperse the waste, endangering our marine ecosystems with great distribution of plastic debris.

We want to thank the many hundreds of our fellow citizens and the 106 local organizations of Samos that participated in this great effort.

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