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Tourist Devotes Entire Vacation to Cleaning Beaches in Greece

Tourist cleaning beaches Greece
Daniel Tornkovist poses in front of a pile of garbage, mostly plastic, in Chalkidiki. Credit: Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Agency

A Swedish tourist spent his entire vacation in Chalkidiki, northern Greece, cleaning garbage from his favorite beaches.

Daniel Tornkvist, a regular visitor to Chalkidiki, said he was very disappointed when he arrived in July and show the rubbish that had accumulated.

“When I planned this trip I had just planned to spend a month there reconnecting with nature and spending time out of the rat race. When I arrived, however, I was blown away by just how much plastic was on every single beach,” Tornkvist wrote in his Instagram account.

“Although I was very disappointed to have my dreams of idyllic seaside beauty dashed by the harsh reality caused solely by humans, I have now taken it upon myself to cleanup as much plastic from my beach and surrounding beaches during my stay,” he added.

Waste in beaches not just a problem in Greece

The tourist bought black trash bags and started collecting the garbage he found at the beaches near the town of Nea Roda in Chalkidiki. His only companion was his dog. After the end of the collection he had managed to fill an entire truck.

Speaking to the local site GrTimes, Tornkvist said the problem of dumping waste is not focused only in Greece. “The problem is big all over the Mediterranean…Tens of thousands of tons of rubbish are being dumped in the Mediterranean every year and these numbers are constantly increasing,” he said.

Next stop: cleaning beaches in Crete

The Swedish environmentalist is not just concerned about Chalkidiki. He plans to spend the winter months in Crete, in the southern corner of Greece, in order to continue his green cause by cleaning beaches there.

He confesses, however, that he wants to live in a warm place, “away from icy temperatures and the gray sky.”

Tornkvist shared his story with the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Agency (HELMEPA)so it could inspire people and give hope for a healthier planet.

HELMEPA is an Environment Protection Association. Established in 1982 is the the pioneering voluntary commitment of Greek seafarers and ship owners to safeguard the seas from ship-generated pollution.

Among its aims is to nurture a high level of environmental consciousness within the ranks of the Greek maritime community with the means of education, information, motivation and publicity. It also aims to encourage the maritime community to comply with national and international legislation designed for the prevention of marine pollution.

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