It’s been already 5 years that the Greek island of Alonissos in the Northern Sporades has started a serious “going green” effort by rejecting the plastic and adopting the paper and cloth instead.
The Alonissos municipality teamed up with the Mediterranean SOS Network and MOm (the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal) started its recycling program in 2012 under the motto: “Alonissos without Plastic Bags” with the inclusion of the local community in tourism development decisions.
Already known across the globe for its efforts in protecting its natural habitat, preserving its rich architectural tradition as well as for its energy-saving schemes and of course for being a habitat of the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, Alonissos is protected under the EU’s Natura program.
“Alonissos without Plastic Bags” in an initiative that aims to significantly reduce the use of plastic bags on the island with local professionals not ordering plastic bags anymore and consumers opting for paper or reusable cloth bags instead.
Local nature groups, including the Mediterranean SOS Network and MOm, are currently distributing cotton bags, holding workshops, seminars and awareness-raising events as part of the campaign.
This initiative is getting more important by the fact that it is estimated that an average consumer in Greece uses approximately 242 plastic bags each year –this is quite a number. In the meantime, EU countries will be expected by the end of 2018 to charge extra for plastic bags in efforts to discourage their use.
All these reasons have brought Alonissos being the only Greek destination among the world’s Top 100 Sustainable Destinations in 2016 – a distinction awarding efforts of international tourism locations for responsible and sustainable projects, such as Green Destinations in collaboration with Quality Coast, TravelMole’s, Vision for Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Travel International and GSTC.
The nomination process was carried out online followed by an assessment procedure by a team of experts of more than 15 relevant criteria, including efforts by destination authorities to ensure sustainable practices that are to the benefit of local communities, visitors and the world.
Alonissos’s commitment to sustainable practices and policies was also recognized during Mediterranean Panorama 2017 held in Stockholm with an adding award.
Alonissos has managed to become not only one of the country’s “greenest” islands but also a destination promoting nature activities and sustainable tourism.