An underwater robot has been used to clean the seabed of the Aegean island of Alonissos, named the Best Green Eco Destination in Greece back in 2019 at the Greek Travel Awards in Stockholm, Sweden.
The initiative was carried out by Aegean Rebreath, an organisation working to protect and renew the marine environment, within its Blue Municipalities Network, of which the Municipality of Alonissos is a member.
The project was carried out across the island in four different locations and included cleaning the two ports of Votsi and Gerakas, coastal cleaning, and lifting abandoned nets from reefs with the innovative use of the underwater robot. The robot was also used to collect research data, such as measurements of microplastic present in the water.
In addition to the experts deployed by the non-government organisation Aegean Rebreath and the underwater robot, fifty volunteers, including some local businesses, participated in the operations.
Over the two day clean up, the underwater robot managed to retrieve 900 kilograms of netting, two bags of fishing lines, 400 plastic bottles, 95 glass bottles, 26 car tyres, four bags of plastic fragments, 110 plastic pipes, 78 tarpaulins, three and a half bags of rope, 854 bottle caps, two beach umbrellas, two sunbeds, a chair and aboat ladder as well as loads of other rubbish.
Aegean Rebreath's, Blue Municipalities Network is a group of 15 Aegean local authorities that was created by a group of divers in 2017 committed to the environmental protection of the sea, working to clean up the seabed, reefs and beaches.
At present, Alonissos is the only member island from the Northern Sporades, a Greek island chain that also includes Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros.
"In Alonissos, "blue" has a "green" shade!" Mayor of Alonissos, Petros Vafinis announced to the media, explaining that with the help of partner organisations, local authorities can implement their pioneering green strategy for the ocean, which is the main source of income for the island, be it through tourism or fishing.