Protecting Paradise, One Beach Cleanup at a Time
By Giovanni Prete,
All For Blue Corfu Team Leader
As the summer sunbathed the picturesque shores of Corfu island, Greece in golden warmth, the dedicated All For Blue Corfu Team embarked on a mission that would leave a lasting impact on the island’s pristine beaches and the hearts of its inhabitants. Their summer 2023 program was a testament to the power of collective action, a journey that encompassed four beach cleanup missions in some of Corfu’s most threatened coastal areas.
Speaking about the campaign, All For Blue Corfu Team’s leader Giovanni Prete expressed his enthusiasm: ‘’This year, we took our commitment to the next level. Our goal was not to just clean these beautiful beaches but to also inspire a sense of stewardship among the local community and visitors. We believe that collective action is the key to preserving the natural wonders of Corfu for generations to come.’’
This summer, the team was joined by many volunteers from Paris, Geneva, London and Italy, who all participated in the cleanups with great enthusiasm and a willingness to protect the place they visit and cherish every summer.
Erimitis: Protecting a Pristine Ecosystem
The campaign kicked off in the protected ecosystem of Erimitis on July 17th, a place of extraordinary natural beauty. Here, the team confronted the harsh reality of plastic pollution head-on. Among the tangled roots of resilient trees and lush vegetation, they discovered a plastic table – an unwelcome intruder in this otherwise untouched paradise. With determination in their hearts – the team meticulously removed the table and collected sacks of waste.
One particularly striking image from Erimitis was the team carrying sacks of waste through ropes suspended between trees. This approach showcased their commitment to leaving no trace and preserving the delicate balance of this vital ecosystem.
Dimitri Lazareff, coming from Geneva, who participated in the cleanup said: ‘’When we first arrived and saw the plastic table marooned, it was a stark reminder of the impact of our collective actions on the environment. We knew that every bag of waste collected was a step toward restoring the natural beauty of this place, and it was a privilege to work together to protect Erimitis and its unique ecosystem.’’
Halikounas: Guardians of Sea Turtle Nesting Grounds
Halikounas beach, with its vast sandy shores and sweeping dunes, served as the backdrop for the second cleanup. Here, the team went beyond simply removing waste – they camped in the sand dunes, turning their efforts into an educational opportunity. They aimed to raise awareness about the sea turtles that make their nests on these very shores.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, the team shared stories of these magnificent creatures with curious visitors, emphasizing the importance of keeping the beach clean and free of debris. The experience was a powerful reminder that our actions have consequences that rippled through the natural world, affecting even the most vulnerable of species.
One remarkable moment at Halikounas was when the team discovered a 10-meter-long plastic bag buried deep beneath the sand. They dug tirelessly for an hour to unearth it, illustrating their unwavering commitment to the cause.
Katie Anderson, a team member from London, England, expressed her passion for the cleanup: ‘’Seeing the impact of our work in Halikounas, from removing the buried plastic bag to sharing the sea turtles’ story with visitors, it’s incredibly rewarding. We did not just clean the beach; we safeguarded a haven for these amazing creatures. It’s a privilege to be part of the mission.’’
Avlaki: A Community United Against Pollution
The third cleanup took place in Avlaki beach, where the team joined forces with the local community to combat pollution. This collaboration was a shining example of the positive change that can occur when like-minded individuals come together for a common cause. The cleanup was not just about removing waste; it was about strengthening the bond between the local community and the environment.
The team was joined by students from the local High School and the surrounding areas. As the team combed the shores of Avlaki, they discovered the true extent of the plastic pollution problem. But they also witnessed the power of community engagement as they rallied together to tackle the issue. This shared sense of responsibility demonstrates that the fight against pollution is one that unites people and transcends borders.
Barbati: Beauty in the Midst of the Cleanup
The fourth and final cleanup took place against the backdrop of Barbati beach’s breathtaking pink skies. Here, the team once again confronted the challenge of waste removal, ensuring that this natural wonder remained pristine for future generations.
The juxtaposition of the team’s efforts against the beauty of the pink-tinged horizon underscored the importance of their mission. It served as a reminder that while the world’s natural wonders are awe-inspiring, they are also fragile and in need of protection.
All For Blue’s Summer 2023 campaign was a resounding success. The four beach cleanups showcased the team’s unwavering commitment to preserving Corfu’s natural beauty and educating the public about the importance of responsible environmental stewardship. This campaign demonstrated that when a dedicated group of individuals comes together with a shared purpose, they can make a profound impact on their community and their environment.
As we look into the future, we can only hope that more people will follow in the footsteps of All For Blue Corfu Team, working tirelessly to protect our planet, one beach at a time.