Monday, 17 March 2008

Volunteers Clean the Beach and Forest of Schinias

Athens, 17 March 2008
Philip Ammerman
pga@navigator-consulting.com
www.schinias-friends.org

On Sunday, March 16th, in a rare example of public, private and civil society cooperation, some 150 volunteers gathered to clean the beach and forest of Schinias. Under a bright, wind-swept sky, the group managed to clear an area of about 200 m x 100 m, or about 20 stremmata of forest. Although this is a small part of the total area of Schinias, it was a strong start to what many will hope will be an ongoing effort.

The volunteers were all ages and nationalities: Greeks, Americans, French, British, Australians, Dutch, Belgians, Canadians, Brazilians, Israelis, Palestinians, Chinese, Moldovans, Serbians, Koreans and Germans all participated. All shared one common goal: to clean and remove as much garbage as possible, restoring the forest and beach to its native state.

The clean-up initiative was launched by NAVIGATOR Consulting Group Ltd., and co-organised by Athenes Accueil; the Foreigners Club of Nea Makri, Marathon, Rafina and Northeast Attica; the Hellenic-American Democratic Association (HELADA); MIAFYSI International Nature Network; and the Princeton Club of Greece.

Both the public and private sectors supported the effort. The Municipality of Marathon provided a cleaning crew and garbage truck during the day, despite the fact that it was Sunday and the national strike by sanitation workers was in effect. Gr. Sarantis SA donated plastic garbage bags used by the volunteers. Agripan SA provided a tractor and crew for cleaning the beach. Skai 100.3 FM radio, Kathimerini and The Athens News provided invaluable publicity for the event.

Following the clean-up, a picnic lunch was held on the beach. Dr. Kimon Hadjibiros, President of the Managing Body of the Marathon-Schinias National Park, made a short presentation on the goals and objectives of the Park. This year will be the first time that the Park receives funding to employ 3 park rangers, who will work from April to November at Schinias.

The Schinias National Park faces grave environmental threats, as there are not enough funds or resources to properly safeguard the area. Every year, over 1 million people visit the beach, mostly Athenians coming for the day. Ton of garbage and refuse are left on the beach and forest, ranging from food packaging to baby diapers to rusted beach umbrellas and chairs. During the high season, over 1,000 cars enter the park, creating significant damage to the beach and dunes.

Yet perhaps the most dangerous threat is that of fire. Schinias–like Olympia–has benefited from the installation of an automated fire fighting system. Unfortunately this system has never been connected to the municipal water main network due to lack of funds and technical incompatibility. With the high winds and large number of visitors during the dry summer months, a fire could start and spread in a very short time period, causing incalculable damage.

Additional initiatives are being planned: interested people are invited to visit the website www.schinias-friends.org to receive information on future events.

Roll of Honour
We warmly thank all organisations and individuals who participated and contributed to this event. (If you contributed and are not on this list, or know someone who was there and is not mentioned, please email corrections to Philip Ammerman at pga@navigator-consulting.com)

Organisers
Athenes Accueil
Foreigners Club of Nea Makri, Marathon, Rafina and Northeast Attica
Hellenic-American Democratic Association (HELADA)
MIAFYSI International Nature Network
NAVIGATOR Consulting Group
Princeton Club of Greece

Municipality of Marathon
Spyridos Zagaris, Mayor
Manolis Sideri, Sanitation Director

Marathon-Schinias National Park
Dr. Kimon Hadjibiros, President

Donations & Support
Agripan SA, ETEMA SA, John Lewis, Gr. Sarantis SA

Media & Promotion
SKAI 100.3 FM, The Athens News, Kathimerini

Car Pool
Murray Brill, Chris Woodfin, Mandy Veil, Athan Vellanites

Promotion & Dissemination
Philip Ammerman, Philip Dragoumis, Myriam Elice, George Keramitzoglou, Minos Kok, Karen Lee, Steven Medeiros, Alexis Phylactopoulos, Daisy Rodriguez, Charity Moschopoulos

Picnic
Regina Tassitano, Alexander Ammerman, Christine Ammerman

Registration Desk
Lieke & Henske Defize

Volunteers & Participants
Despina Alexandri
Philip Ammerman
Alexander Ammerman
Sophie & Stephen Ammerman
Nikos Anastasopoulos
Thomas Anemos
Spyros Beis
Chrystelle Blanchard
Pascaline Bossu
Kostas Botopoulos
Nadia Boujnini-Lahlou
Murray Brill
Michelle Buckley
Elias Carayiannis
Ruth Carter
Jean Chlochard
Katrien Cobbaert
Emmanouel Constantinides
Esme Copestake
Christine Counelis
Lieke & Henske Defize
Catherine Delcourt
Rosemary Donnelly
Philip Dragoumis
John Economides
Dimitris Eleftherakis
Myriam Elice
Yael Eshel
Rebecca Fordham
Dimitris Fragakis
Christina Gavrili
Kalliope Georgpanti
Sonia Gerodimou
Rami Ghoneim
Thodoris Gialiathakis
Keri Golas
Harry & Sue Goldsmith
Kimon Hadjibiros
Scott Hathaway
Anna Haughton
Aya Haykel
Hadeel Hmaidi
Paula Hobson
Andreas Idra
Shelley & Hercules
Romina Istrati
Panos Karametzanis
James Katsinis
George Keramitzoglou
Brady Kiesling
Katerina Kitsili
Minos Kok
Eleana-Sara
Elli & Kassandra Kousouli
Deborah Kyrvrikosaios
Karen Lee
Evan Matiatos
Isaak Mavrides
Judith Mega
Sophie Mitic
Apostolis Mitropoulos
JoonSeok Oh
Angela Papalambrou
Hadar Papatrechas
Alexandros Perrakis
Alexis Phylactopoulos
Theodoros Rentzias
George Saliarelis
Sofia Skourti
Manolis Sideris
Kostas Spyrides
Regina Tassitano
Madeleine Theochari
Barbara Tomasini
Ingrid Vangastel
Mandi Veil
Athan Vellanitis
Spiros Vlahos
Chris Woodfin
Spyridon Zagaris
George Zarkadas
Anthea Zervos
Peipei Zhu

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