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Face masks have polluted marine environments since the outbreak of COVID

Thessaloniki strengthens efforts to protect its marine environment

Thessaloniki strengthens efforts to protect its marine environment

It will test out the use of a sea drone to collect and remove waste

In the coming months, the Greek City of Thessaloniki will implement a series of innovative pilot actions to protect its marine environment from pollution. The most noteworthy of these actions is the introduction of an unmanned sea vessel (sea drone), which will collect and remove waste from Thessaloniki’s beaches. According to the municipality, this will be the first time that such a drone is used for waste collection in Greece.

Monitoring seawater quality since 2019

In 2019, the municipality teamed up with the Hellenic Centre for Habitats – Wetlands (EKBY) to begin monitoring the qualitative and quantitative distribution of waste in the Bay of Thessaloniki. In a press release, the City of Thessaloniki has now revealed the findings of these studies, disclosing that there has been an increase in floating debris in the past two years.

More specifically, there has been a 3% and 4% increase in floating plastic waste and paper, respectively. Taking this further, the outbreak of COVID further increased pollution as face masks, gloves, and other items have appeared in the bay.

Taking action to reduce pollution

The municipality has now joined forces with Nestle Hellas and Aegean Rebreath to tackle the pollution of its marine environment. To do so, it will introduce the aforementioned ‘sea drone’, which will operate alongside waste collection boats starting this summer.  

In addition, the municipality will install informative electronic screens and organise events to raise awareness and mobilise citizens to keep the coastal areas clean. Finally, it will also strengthen its waste collection research.

The cost of these actions will reportedly be covered by donations from both Nestle Hellas and Aegean Rebreath, the municipality revealed.

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