ATHENS — From afar, they might look like colorful corals, rocks, or marine plants swaying with the current. But get closer, and you’ll see that they’re not a natural part of the ocean environment, but rather human cast-offs: plastic bags, glass bottles, tangles of wire, and fishing nets.
Since 2017, the Aegean Rebreath team has brought together professionals from different specialties, including divers, environmentalists, and educators, to clean up Greece’s coasts and the seabed. In this endeavor, they have been joined by more than 1,200 volunteers so far, as well as by members of local communities who are actively involved in the collaborative effort to clean up the coasts and the seabed and to help change attitudes and practices.
After more than 40 missions to Greek islands and clean-up activities along coastlines and at sea, the Aegean Rebreath team, with support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), returned to the island of Antiparos where, in 2018, they created their first marine litter collection station.
In the station’s two years of existence, 7,200 pieces of recyclable materials have been collected, along with 1.8 tons of fishing gear, helping reinvigorate the seas around Antiparos.