Two images of our plastic footprint in our seas:

– A turtle attempting to swim among plastic debris washed into the sea after the first rainfall.

– A rubbish bin which could be situated almost anywhere in Greece.

This is an image which should insult all civilians who see this every day, but the power of habit makes us desensitized, or at the very best gives us an upset feeling which we quickly overcome. The responsibility for this does not only lie with the relevant authorities but also with each civilian of this country who puts up with these situations.

We are pleading not only with the relevant authorities in charge of waste management, but also with citizens who ought to exert pressure around topics that matter. It is an urgent need, at least for those parts of Greece where the autumn rains have not yet started, that the roads and the bins are cleaned. The upcoming rainfalls will cause all dispersed plastic waste to wash into the sea through not only the drainage systems of the cities, villages, and roads, but also through the rivers. Next spring, people will go on excursions to the sea side to clean up the coast, but it will be too late. By that time, thousands of marine animals, small and large, will have been killed through the ingestion of or by the entanglement with marine debris.

The lack of waste management in Greece is a gigantic problem which we frequently still try to address via small, inefficient actions that make us feel better or make some companies have a green image via CSR activities, but ultimately don’t address the problem.

It is a fact that we are running out of time. If we continue to avoid the problem and carry on with the ‘inspired’ approach of “managing our waste via dispersion waiting for the autumn rains to wash them into the sea” and out of sight, we can only expect that marine life will increasingly to suffocate.