14 Oct 2021
Action! CLAIM interviews for renowned media outlets in Greece
In the first weeks of October, CLAIM’s project coordinator Prof. George Triantafyllou gave an interview for Creta TV and the Radio Station of the church of Greece. In addition, Mr. Kostas Tsiaris, research scientist at HCMR who is also one of the authors of the HCMR paper “Modeling the Pathways and Accumulation Patterns of Micro- and Macro-Plastics in the Mediterranean”, published in the journal “Frontiers in Marine Science”, gave an interview for SKAI TV.
The interview topics revolved around the recently located large amounts of marine litter in the Mediterranean region. About 4 thousand tons of plastic have been discovered sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, from its surface to its shores, according to a new Greek scientific study. HCMR scientists estimate that every year the Mediterranean is contaminated with 17,600 tons of plastics of which 3,670 tons are currently sailing in its waters. According to Mr. Tsiaras, microplastics are less abundant on the surface of the sea because they sink faster, while larger microplastics, such as plastic bags, usually float for longer and sail longer distances. He added that sources of smaller microplastics (up to 300 microns), such as biological treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants, are mainly located near large cities on the west coast of France, Spain and Italy. On the other hand, the largest microplastics (over 300 micrometers) are more common on the coasts of Greece, Turkey, Italy, the Middle East and North Africa.
In addition to this, Prof. Triantafyllou explained that the Mediterranean region was polluted with almost 4 tons of microplastics because it’s a closed basin and a great number of people live there. There are also a lot of activities happening around the coasts, including fishing, and all of this results in plastic particles to be consumed by the fish and afterwards, by the people. Prof. Triantafyllou continued that CLAIM develops a number of technologies, which aim to prevent marine litter from entering the sea. The project has designed a floating boom which has been successfully installed on the coast of the Greek river Kyphosis and already shows tremendous results as it gathered 8 cubic metres of plastic in 10 days. There is also the pre-filtering system which retains larger plastics and ensures the smooth functioning of the photocatalytic coatings at a later stage. The photocatalytic device is harnessing the sun’s radiation to help rid the oceans of microplastics contamination. Furthermore, the small scale pyrolizer exploits plasma-fueled high temperature for transforming solid waste into a combustible gas, called syngas, and a recyclable solid residue. Last but not least, the FerryBoxes are autonomous systems for continuous monitoring of physicochemical and environmental parameters installed in commercial vessels and ferryboats. Prof. Triantafyllou concluded that the project has been given a great opportunity by the EU to design these technologies and hopefully the project will be able to fully develop them so that plastic pollution can be prevented not only in the Mediterranean, but on a EU level.
The team of CLAIM hopes that more papers and wider dissemination will follow from our success story!