A modern Odyssey in Ithaca turned a disaster into a paradise, restoring local beauty.
When Giorgos Lilas, a local diver and passionate environmentalist, publicized photos of a fish farm that has been abandoned 10 years ago wreaking environmental havoc on Ithaca, the environmental organizations Healthy Seas, Ghost Diving, and Enaleia mobilized their forces, engaging volunteers, local authorities and sponsors that wanted to help restore the pristine beauty of the area.
The company that had gone bankrupt in 2012 had left behind fish farm cages and other equipment that polluted the area endangering the local community, marine life as well as maritime traffic. In September 2020, Ianos, a rare hurricane-like storm caused the tons of industrial type of plastic pipes, fishing nets, nylon ropes, concrete blocks, plastic buoys, large rusty metal pieces and all kinds of waste to be carried away, later to be found floating on the surface of the sea, laying on the seabed and on the beaches. The damage was that big that in some places the plastic reached up to the knees.
The project started on June 8th 2021, on World Oceans Day, and lasted until June 16. It is worth mentioning that this was the biggest project in the history of the above organizations in terms of positive environmental impact and community involvement, delivering astounding results in a short amount of time.
In just 8 days, a group of 45 people, most of them volunteers, including 20 divers, implemented a historic cleanup removing from the sea, coastline, and 4 beaches on the Southwest of Ithaca
76.000 kilos of debris
Overall, the team recovered 5 tons of fishing nets, 32 tons of metal, 39 tons of plastic, including 150 bags full of polystyrene foam beads.
“We couldn’t believe our eyes! After shoveling the polystyrene foam beads into plastic bags for 5 days we realized that we needed another solution to leave the beach as clean as possible. Thankfully, we found an industrial vacuum cleaner which we refitted using a volunteer’s mesh bag as a filter”
Veronica Mikos, Director of Healthy Seas
You can read the official #JourneyToIthaca Press Release here.