Scientists from the Greek island of Andros are using a submarine with advanced sonar technology in order to document the state of the island’s polluted seabed.
The submarine, which is also equipped with a robotic arm, will enable researchers to determine the most effective method to remove the waste without further damaging the marine environment.
The ambitious project got a kick-start after volunteer divers belonging to the organization Aegean Rebreath visited the location in 2019. The nongovernmental group removed over 272 kilograms (660 pounds) worth of garbage while conducting research at Schinias Beach.
The underwater photos and videos they had taken circulated all over social media, garnering various responses. One such criticism came from award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is also known for his environmental activism and vacation trips to Greece.
The actor posted a video from one of the volunteers on his own Instagram, prompting Andros Mayor Theodosis Sousoudis to describe the account as an inaccurate portrayal of the island.
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#Regram #RG @ajplus: "It's toxic to us." Plastic bags and toilet seats. Hundreds of discarded fishing nets. All of this was stuck to the seabed of Greece’s Andros island. Volunteers collected over 660 lbs of plastic waste. But some say the microplastics leave an invisible imprint on the environment and even ourselves. They can be consumed by fish that then become a part of our diet. #environment #pollution #plasticbags #coralreefs #greece #seabed #fishingnets #microplastics #coral #plastic #ocean #sealife #sea #fish #trash #zerowaste #plasticfree #recycle #reef #underwater #oceanlife #marinelife #rubbish #reef #sea #miroplastic #underwaterphoto #saveouroceans #conservation
After the video went viral, the Andros Maritime Association and the private company ALS Marine Consultants were sent to the site at Schinias Beach in order to survey the area and find the optimal solution.
Back in 2011, extremely heavy rainfall caused a large amount of accumulated trash from the area of Stavropeda to tumble into the sea — and it was then carried away by the currents. In response to DiCaprio’s criticism, Sousoudis himself clarified that “extreme weather conditions resulted in tons of rubbish sliding into the ravine and then into the sea from a landfill some 800 meters (one half mile) away.”
Currently, the ALS Marine crew is planning on spending a week working on the seabed and using sonar technology to compile a 3D map of the area.
The ultimate objective is to use a combination of methods to clean up what is now basically a new underwater landfill, which is estimated to lie 30 meters below sea level.