Actions taken throughout “plastic bag free week”
In order to effectively inform the residents and tourists of Syros about both the impact of plastic bags in the marine environment and the objectives of the Project, we have operated from Friday, May 5th to Sunday May14th, at Miaoulis Square in Hermoupolis, (from 10 am to 1 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm), the LIFE DEBAG Information Kiosk. Members of the Project’s beneficiaries had the opportunity to exchange views with the citizens of Syros, to listen to their concerns, to inform them for the consequences of the use of plastic bags, to urge them to participate in the actions of the “Plastic bag free week” and to propose measures for the reduction of the consumption of single-use plastic bags.
Exhibition of handbags created for the “Student reusable handbag competition”
From Monday, May 8th to Friday, May 12th, in the context of the “Student reusable handbag competition”, organized by LIFE DEBAG’s beneficiaries, an open to the public exhibition was held in “Hermoupolis Cultural Center Hall”, during which t-shirts transformed into reusable bags, hand-painted and hand-decorated by the students of Syros schools were exhibited. Students with the best designs were awarded with a prize at a special event that took place on the evening of Wednesday May10th.
Throughout the “Plastic bag free week”, members of the Project’s beneficiaries visited the shops of Hermoupolis in order to urge the shop holders that provide plastic bags to their customers to sign the proposed by LIFE DEBAG Voluntary Agreement, which aims to engage the entrepreneurs in implementing 4 specific measures in order to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags in their enterprise.
The New Raw
The creative team “The New Raw” (Foteini Setaki and Panos Sakkas.), which specializes in the use of digital manufacturing technologies in the waste material recycling process, came to Syros from Rotterdam, in order to support LIFE DEBAG and the “Plastic bag free week”. Together, for the period from Monday, May 8th to Wednesday, May 10th, both the visitors of our Information Kiosk and of our “Exhibition of handbags” (especially the younger ones) have played, learned, and recycled in situ single-use plastic packaging and, by the use of new technologies, converted plastic waste in every kind of gem (bracelets, rings, etc.).
Official launch of the “Plastic bag free week” by the press conference held in the City Hall of Hermoupolis. Short speeches were made by the Mayor of Syros-Hermoupolis Mr. Georgios Maragos, Deputy Mayor Mr. Marios Voutsinos and the President of the “Solid Waste Management Association”, Mr. Markos Printezis, as well as by representatives of LIFE DEBAG’s beneficiaries. All participants stressed the importance of LIFE DEBAG for the local community of Syros.
On Tuesday afternoon, Miaoulis Square was filled with happy children’s voices! We played together with the young visitors of our Information Kiosk a series of interactive environmental games that aimed not only in entertainment but also in informing and awareness-raising on the environmental problem caused by plastic bags in the marine environment.
On Wednesday morning, we conducted a benthic litter monitoring survey on the seafloor of Hermoupolis Gulf, by implementing methods of underwater acoustic and visual scanning (sonar side scanner – underwater sliding camera), as well as aerial remote sensing (drone).
On the afternoon, at the “Ritsos Hall” of the “Hermoupolis Cultural Center Hall”, a meeting with the stakeholders/ shop holders of Syros Island was held. At the meeting, the shop holders expressed their views on the difficulties they face in reducing the consumption of single-use plastic bags in their shops and they were informed for the importance and benefits of signing on the Voluntary Agreement, proposed by LIFE DEBAG.
The meeting was followed by an open workshop, organized by LIFE DEBAG. The workshop was divided into three sections. The first section included short speeches by representatives of local authorities and of LIFE DEBAG’s beneficiaries who presented the results and forthcoming actions of the Project as well as the latest developments in environmental legislation concerning single-use plastic bags. In the second section, distinguished scientists from both abroad (F.Claro – French National Museum of Natural History) and Greece (C. Karapanagiotis – University of Patras) presented the environmental problem caused by plastic bags in the marine and coastal environment. In the third section, “The New Raw” presented their pioneering methods for recycling plastic waste, while Professors of the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering of the University of the Aegean, S. Bosinakis, P. Koutsambasis and Modestos Stavrakis spoke: the first one “for serious games in the environmental education”, the second one for “the abolition of plastic bags as a design problem for the change of social behavior” and the third for the projects of his students on the subject of plastic waste and plastic bags. These projects were exhibited, at the same time as the workshop, by the students who created them, in a specially designed area outside the “Ritsos Hall”.
Between the second and the third section of the workshop, in the context of the “Student reusable handbag decoration competition”, a special event was held to award the most imaginative reusable bags, hand-painted and hand-decorated by the pupils of Syros schools. Five prizes were awarded: 2 for primary schools, 2 for Secondary Schools and 1 for Second Chance Schools.
On Thursday morning, we continued our benthic litter monitoring, as well as our coastal monitoring survey and cleaning actions, this time in the area of Ladopoulos. The detailed scientific monitoring of litter helps us not only to study their composition, but also to determine their sources of origin.
On Friday morning, we implemented a benthic litter monitoring, as well as a coastal cleaning in the areas of Lotos and Kini.
In the afternoon, at Miaouli Square, we played once again environmental games with the children of Syros. Nikos Papadakis “became a child again” in order to help us in the games, while students of the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering of the University of the Aegean presented and played with the visitors of our Information Kiosk the interactive plastic bag recycling games that they designed and manufactured.
On Saturday night, at Miaoulis Square, the band Nea Taxi Pragmaton (N.T.P.) and the stand-up comedian Aristotle Rigas played music and crated for us moments of unforgettable laughter! A better way to convey our message: “Leave plastic bags in the past and not in our seas” across Syros, could not exist! We thank them for their active support!
On Sunday morning we have recorded and collected litter from Diakoftis beach. We are very grateful to Nikos Papadakis for his participation!