Paros to become the first plastic-waste free Mediterranean island

The Greek island of Paros is set to become the first plastic-waste free one in the Mediterranean, with the assistance of the collaborative change program called Clean Blue Alliance. Clean Blue Alliance is designed to help island communities tackle plastic pollution with a top down and bottom up approach that works with government, councils, businesses and local changemakers to understand plastic waste flows and impacts from source to sea. It then identifies and accelerates solutions with the biggest potential to reduce plastic leakage into the ocean.

The Clean Blue Paros initiative has identified that a 350% increase in waste during the summer months, during which the island's landfill sites are almost full. This challenge presents an opportunity for the alliance to explore and deliver solutions that can be replicated and scaled across other islands. Dozens of businesses across Paros have signed up so far, committing to radically reduce their use of single-use plastics and improve their methods for collecting plastic waste. Typical examples include plastic straws, bags, bottles, cups and takeaway containers, which are planned to be replaced by alternative re-usable and environment-friendly products. 

One of the biggest initiatives taken by the program so far is a refill and re-use strategy to reduce the usage of single-use plastic water bottles. This is achieved by installing water refill stations in schools and giving all children on the island a Clean Blue Paros water bottle. Other activities include sharing school resources and running educational events, as well as partnering with transport companies to engage tourists before they arrive. Additionally, a piloting system to separately collect see-through drink bottles and containers has been designed, in order to help optimize waste management on the island.

Members of the initiative hope to be able to inspire the implementation of similar measures to other islands (both on a Greek and an international level) to create a sustainable model that will help clean up our seas.

For more information visit the initiative's official website.