Dozens of French students descended upon the stunning Greek island of Elafonisos recently — not for vacation, but to clean up trash scattered across the idyllic beaches on the island. A total of 34 dedicated volunteers, including a number of university students from France, worked to clean up the beaches with the organization called “Elafonisos Eco.”
Located between the Peloponnese and Kythira, Elafonisos is a small island that is only approximately 19 square kilometers, or seven square miles, in area. Its beautiful beaches, however, attract as many as 3,000 visitors every day in the summer months.
The island is also home to an ancient sunken city, the archaeological site of Pavlopetri, which dates back as far as the early third century BC. It is thought to have been swallowed up by the sea somewhere around 1000 BC.
Elafonisos Eco dedicated to preserving the island’s environment
Elafonisos Eco is dedicated to preserving the stunning landscape and ecology of Elafonisos as well as educating the public about meaningful ways to help the environment.
Volunteers on the island not only picked up trash along the beach; they also helped promote a more environmentally friendly way of life to tourists and residents there.
The French students came to Elafonisos from across France in June throughout August as part of the effort to preserve the island’s natural landscape.
They were inspired to join the ecological mission by a video produced and released by Elafonisos Eco, which included two young volunteers, Federica and Ludovica, discussing their experience on the island and calling all youth to join in the cause.
Dozens of students in France heeded the young volunteers’ call, and decided to join the mission to keep Elafonisos clean by dedicating their summer to the cause.
Volunteers spent thousands of hours cleaning beaches in Greece
In total, the volunteers worked for 2,760 hours cleaning up beaches, helping preserve the natural habitats of native wildlife, and promoting education on environmental issues.
Volunteers were tasked to clean up all trash on the beaches of Elafonisos, but particularly plastic and plastic bags, which are especially detrimental to marine life.
Additionally, they patrolled beaches early in the morning on the look out for tracks from the sea turtles, Caretta caretta, who were making their nests there, in order to protect the endangered species.
While resting for their hard work cleaning up Elafonisos’ beaches, volunteers were able to immerse themselves into life on the island, forming relationships and bonds with locals and understanding the island’s culture.
Volunteers managed not only to clean up a large amount of waste and trash from the beach, but also to get a taste of life and culture in Greece, enjoying the beauty of the Greek island.