On 2 December 2020, the fourth International Learning Event (ILE) of CAPonLITTER took place, organized by IU-ECOAQUA, Univ. of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain).

With the theme “The role of local communities, how to improve awareness of beach-users and the citizen science in preventing, managing and monitoring marine litter in coastal sites”, this event attended by stakeholders from all the countries involved in the project partnership.

Today, we present you the participating stakeholder from the Region of Crete, Greece, the Municipality of Platanias who was represented by Mrs. Katerina Litou, Scientific Contributor of EU Projects HORIZON:

The Municipality of Platanias of the region of Crete is one of Crete’s most busy touristic areas with long, sandy and remoted attractions, which is visited by 2.5 million visitors annually. This seasonal increasement of the population results the accumulation of a large waste mass mainly on the coastline of the Municipality. In addition, extreme weather conditions bring load-bearing materials from the inland to the coastline of the Municipality. Due to the above, the Municipality faces a big issue of waste accumulation (load-bearing materials, plastics, trees, aggregates, etc.) in the coastline during the whole time of the year.

In order to deal with these challenges, Municipality of Platanias implements a number of Good practices in waste management:

  • Operates the Department of Cleaning and Recycling under the Directorate of Environment and Development of the Municipality of Platanias.
  • Cooperates with DEDISA for the mechanical collection of waste and recyclable materials
  • With own resources, the Municipality provides (free of charge) to its citizens, licensed storage areas for bulky and recyclable items, which after their collection are sent to special storage units for processing.
  • Due to the competent Department of Cleaning and Recycling, Municipality of Platanias provides 3 communication phone numbers for the citizens where they can arrange an appointment for the bulk collection.
  • With its own forces, the Municipality is sweeping the coastal shoreline at regular intervals, and in the summer on a daily basis.
  • In fact, on a coastline of about 30km, the sweeping is done manually following the instructions of the Sea Turtle Protection Society ARCHELON for the safety of the sea turtle Caretta Caretta. Employees of the Cleaning and Recycling Department manually collect garbage along the shoreline.
  • Vehicles do waste collection on the beaches of the Municipality, only after planning and before the spawning period of sea turtles.
  • The Municipality tries to modernize the motor means that it has at its disposal for the waste collection and always on its own resources.
  • The Municipality assists with both, machinery and human, resources of the Department of Cleaning and Recycling in any voluntary environmental effort of NGOs or every simple volunteer groups for the waste and plastic coastline collection. For example, the Municipality has been an active member for the past 5 years of the largest Voluntary Action of the country "Let's do it Greece" for the protection of the environment which includes coastal cleaning activities.

Due to geomorphological alternation and seasonal population increasement, the Municipality of Platanias is constantly looking to find solutions, means, resources and methods for the optimal waste management. In this framework submits studies, actions plans and projects.

The Municipality of Platanias has managed to participate in many EU co-financed projects, gaining experience in the management of national and international projects in education and awareness, with particular emphasis on the environment and ecosystems. In this framework, it seeks to separate organic waste and to find methods in order to reduce environmental pollution.

Finally yet importantly, the Municipality pays attention to the need of citizens information and raising awareness about the importance of recycling in daily life and in shaping culture and mentality in waste management. Therefore, a large awareness campaign on cleanliness and recycling is in progress. The citizens awareness along with the infrastructures and studies, contribute to the vision of the Municipality of Platanias for a Green Destination, an attractive, accessible, safer and healthier environment to live, work and enjoy!