About this good practice
The action “Plastic bag – free Alonissos” is carried out by the MEDITERRANEAN SOS NETWORK & the MOm (The Hellenic Society for the study and protection of the monk seal), in cooperation with the Municipality of Alonnissos, and funded by Thalassa Foundation. It aims at reducing the single- use plastic bags on the island and transform Alonissos as the first “plastic bag- free island” in Greece. This action contributes to the protection of the coastal and marine environment of Alonissos which is the habitat of the Mediterranean monk seals (monachus- monachus). Moreover, it targets to promote Alonissos as a destination which provides alternative forms of tourism.
During the implementation of the action the following came up: ίσως καλύτερα: During the project’s cycle, the following actions were implemented:
• 2.000 cotton bags were distributed to local households
• A broad range of informational/ awareness raising activities were organized
• Educational activities for students, seminars for teachers, voluntary beach cleaning activities, and participatory workshops with local stakeholders were implemented
Main stakeholders are the inhabitants of the island and the local community in general. Through the practice Thalassa Foundation also supported three voluntary clean-ups in Alonissos and the neighboring island of Skiathos.
The Project is funded by the Thalassa Foundation:
-Project Team: 10 (including communications officer)
-Expertise: Marine Science, Environmental Education, Participatory Procedures, Project management, Campaign management.
Evidence of success
• 5,500 lit. of plastic waste was collected and recorded in Alonissos & 2 neighboring islands based on a protocol developed by the Laboratory of Marine Geology & Physical Oceanography Institute of Patras
• Kindergarten and elementary students participated in school clean-ups
• Local entrepreneurs were informed of the action and welcomed the idea of replacing the single use plastic carrier bags
• positive feedback and 5 more Greek islands expressed interest in adopting the practice.
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential for learning or transfer of this practice is high especially in small insular places which have similar profile and characteristics with Alonissos. This arises because the actions could be easily replicated in another region e.g. educational activities for students could be organized and implemented as well as raising awareness activities.
An encouraging fact that confirms the success of the practice and also the potential for transferring it is the fact that the residents of Alonissos continue to act in a sustainable way and to protect and preserve the environment. This is confirmed by the testimonies of the tourists to this day. Most of them use the cotton bags that were distributed during the implementation of the practice, which proves that they have adopted this habit in their daily life.
Consequently, a key success factor regarding the practice may have been the comprehensive organization and implementation of the campaign with everything it includes.