Welcome to Alonissos
The first island in Greece to take action against single-use plastic bags!
(Read more about the “Alonissos Plastic Bag-Free Project” by scrolling down on this page).
Alonissos, as you might already know, hosts the National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades (NMPANS) and ¼ of the world’s Mediterranean Monk Seal population, along with other endangered species of marine mammals. Aspiring to protect and preserve the island’s unique natural beauty and rich ecosystem which ranks it among favourite tourist destinations, the island’s people took action through the “Plastic Bag-Free Alonissos” Project. The Project was implemented by the MEDITERRANEAN SOS Network and MOm/The Hellenic Society for the Study & Protection of the Monk Seal with the cooperation of the Municipality of Alonissos and is funded by Thalassa Foundation.
What you need to know while you are visiting.
- Special bins with stickers featuring the project’s logo have been placed at focal points of Alonissos for you to dispose of any plastic bags that you might be carrying upon your arrival
- The majority of the shops shops are actively supporting the project and have placed posters or stickers with its logo on their fronts. Thus, they will not provide single use plastic bags. Please don’t forget to bring your own bag, while shopping. Alternatively, you can buy an inexpensive reusable one for a very small charge offered in supermarkets and tourist shops.
- Some hotels and rooms-to-let will lend you a cotton-washable and reusable bag to use during your stay.
As with almost all plastic, the plastic bag is made from oil processing products! According to official statistical data by the EU, each person in Greece consumes 269 plastic bags per person per year, 242 of which are single use plastic bags, while a 2015 study by IELKA found that this number is 363, per person, per year, and, even more recent studies estimateit to be more than 400 single use plastic bags per person, per year.
At the same time, the EU -27 average is 175 bags per person per year. According to a binding EU Law passed in 2015, all member states are to reduce their per citizen use of plastic bags to 90 by 2019 and to 40 by 2025. Member states are free to choose the way to bring about this reduction, be it the charging on all plastic bags or the banning of their distribution all together.
Plastic bags are one of the three most common litter on the seabed and one of the five most common litter on the coast.
Environmental impact of plastic bags on the marine ecosystem:
- Are a threat to ecosystems and organisms that consume them or get entangled in them
- Are “vehicles” for foreign/invasive species and therefore disrupt local ecosystem’s equilibria
- Are decomposing in countless minute particles (diameter <5mm, microplastics) that enter the food chain, carrying toxic substances
- Are causing an aesthetic degradation of coastal areas which in turn adversely effects in tourism activities.it causes aesthetic pollution and degradation of the coast
Alonissos has a unique added incentive to ban plastic bags, that is the protection and preservation of its unique natural reserves and the rare species’ habitat of the National Marine Park.
The Alonissos Plastic Bag Free Project
- to drastically reduce the use of plastic carrying bag
- to protect the coastal and marine environment of Alonissos
- to make Alonissos the first plastic bag-free island in Greece
- to further promote Alonissos as an alternative tourism destination
On December 1st, 2015 local businesses kick-started the effort for the total 'extinction' of the plastic bag.
What has happened so far
- June 2015: 1st Meeting/discussion between the Mayor of Alonissos and island businesses on the idea of Alonissos becoming the first “plastic bag free island”.
- 284 Questionnaires and interviews
- December 2015: distribution of 186 questionnaires and leaflets to schoolchildren and 9 questionnaires to local businesses regarding the use of plastic bag in the island. 80 households and 9 businesses replied
First round: October 2015:
- islets of Peristera and Kira-Panagia, with the support of MOm's research vessel 'Odyssey” and the participation of 20 volunteers
- Tsoukalia beach with the participation of the Alonissos Primary School (97 pupils and 8-10 teachers)
Second round: July 2016.
- Five beaches of Peristera with the support of MOm's research vessel 'Odyssey” and the participation of 15 volunteers
Presentation of the project
in the municipal amphitheatre for the island’s businesses and residents, followed by a discussion with the participation of 25-30 local stakeholders
Awareness raising campaign
- Main slogan: “Plastic bags are out of fashion"
- Information leaflet
- Reusable cloth bags
1st ,2nd and 3rd December 2015: Distribution of reusable cloth bags to island residents in front of retail stores
- Compilation of information for Info-boards to be placed at MOm’s information centre in Alonissos
- Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PlasticBagFreeAlonissos
Public Participation Events
- April 3, 2016
Public Meeting/Workshop «Living without plastic bags»
- July 2 & 3, 2016
Open participation event for residents and tourists providing feedback and ideas on the progress of the project.
- Awareness raising presentations on the issue of marine litter in Alonissos' schools
- April 4, 2016: Creative workshop for schoolchildren, making cloth bags!
- April 5, 2016: Action planning on the issue of continuing and extending the initiative with high-school children
- Training seminar for teachers
- July 2 & 3, 2016: Interactive games and workshops for children
- September 30, 2016: Ιnfo-Day titled “The Plastic Bag Problem in Greece: Present situation, challenges and best practices”. The event was attended by many representatives of similar initiatives from other islands, i.e. Santorini, Sikinos, Sifnos, Skiathos and Syros.
Alonissos is steadily trying to achieve the maximum possible reduction or even total banishment of plastic bags, also participating with synergies in the context of the “Active Skiathos Αgainst Plastic Bag (A.S.A.P)” project, which was launched in June 2017 and will be completed in July 2018. To this end, a representative of the Municipality and the Cultural Association of Alonissos actively participated in the Open Discussion held in Skiathos, on October 11, 2017, in order to relay Alonissos’experience to the neighboring island of Skiathos. The aim is for synergies between the two islands to be sustained with beach cleanups and informational events, in order to help even more areas to take action.