Coastal Cleaning: Waste & Implications

Risk to human health

Waste accumulated in the coastal and marine environment causes adverse effects on bathers' health and safety:

• In particular, hospital and sanitary wastes, sharp objects and abandoned fishing gear (e.g. nets) hide serious health hazards for those who come in contact with them
• Waste consuming the various fish can even end up in our dish through the food chain

Environmental risk

Increasing litter on the coasts affects coastal and marine species due to the fact that:
• There is a downgrading of the area where they live and feed
• They are often trapped in them, thus reducing their ability to travel, find food and avoid predators. In addition, trapping can injure them or even lead them to death due to starvation, suffocation or drowning
• They can swallow any kind of plastic objects, food packs, bags, etc. located on the coast, floating in the sea or sitting on the seabed
• Floating marine litter may be carriers of alien species, which can lead to disruption of current ecosystems and habitats such as coral reefs and thus affect food and food habits of marine organisms.

Aesthetic implications

In crowded beaches there is a marked deterioration in the natural landscape, as often there are hotels, restaurants, beach bars and other coastal businesses. In many of these cases, especially when there is not a proper bather culture and the necessary infrastructure on the coast, there is a strong presence of marine litter resulting from recreational activities (plastic glasses, cans, etc.) of each region, degrade their natural beauty and make it repellent. This aesthetic degradation of waste areas discourages the arrival of a significant percentage of visitors.
Who wants to swim or enjoy the pleasures of the beach, surrounded by rubbish?

Economic and social costs

Tourism in Greece is one of the main pivots of development and future of the country.
The rich cultural heritage, the natural beauty of the place and the geographical diversity attract thousands of tourists, enhancing Greece's image as a tourist destination of global reach, and, on the other hand, as a tourist market with excellent investment opportunities.
As the tourist value of a region is very much related to its aesthetic value, the aesthetic degradation of tourist, coastal areas due to waste pollution has as a direct result the corresponding decrease in tourist activity and the consequent loss of significant economic capital.