On June 5, 2018 the Municipality of Rethymno in cooperation with the Natural History Museum of Crete and the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (ARCHELON) organized a open event to celebrate the World Environment Day.
On June 5, 2018 the Municipality of Rethymno in cooperation with the Natural History Museum of Crete and the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (ARCHELON) organized a open event to celebrate the World Environment Day. The event started with a fruitful discussion on the marine ecosystems and the impact of plastic pollution on key protected species in NATURA 2000 sites.
On behalf of the municipality, key speakers were Mr Vasilis Myriokefalitakis and Mr Nikos Vovos (Department of Development Programming), as well as Mr George Georgalis representing the Municipal Board of Rethymno and policy makers in general. Mr Georgalis presented the initiatives of the Municipality of Rethymno towards sustainable tourism development and environmental protection and Mr Miriokefalitakis refered to relevant projects such as the INTERREG MED CASTWATER project implemented by the municipality. Mr Vovos also mentioned the nomination of the Municipality of Rethymnon in the competition for sustainable mobility wining the second award in the category of small cities.
Invited speaker from the Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) referred to the impact of plastic pollution on marine and coastal ecosystems and in particular on the sea turtle Caretta caretta that is among the most important key species recorded in the site PRASSANO FARANGI - PATSOS - SFAKORYAKO REMA - PARALIA RETHYMNOU KAI EKVOLI GEROPOTAMOU, AKR. LIANOS KAVOS - PERIVOLIA (GR4330004) that is included in the NATURA 2000 network, as well as the importance and the benefits of both marine and coastal ecosystems. Mrs Maria Maniadaki, coordinator of the Observatory of Environmental Legislation in West Crete referred to the impact of uncontrolled tourism development in the ecosystem of the sea turtle Caretta caretta and its relevance to the ineffectiveness of environmental legislation as well as to the need for carrying capacity assessments in any tourism destination. Finally, Mr Odysseas Paxinos, Coordinator of ARCHELON for the protection of Caretta caretta in the region of Crete referred to the awareness raising campaign that is taking place in the municipality of Rethymno every summer since the coastal area of Rethymno city is an important site for the reproduction of this key species.
The open day event also included an interactive game for the students of the primary schools that took place at the Venetian Harbour of Rethymno. It was an open air event implemented with facilitators from ARCHELON and NHMC as well as the volunteers of ARCHELON who are entitled to contribute to the awareness raising campaign about Caretta caretta in Rethymnon. Approximately 100 students attended and participated in the floor game and had the chance to learn about the dangers that the ecosystem of this unique sea turtle faces. At the end of the event all pupils were given hats and T- shirts containing key messages for environmental protection.
The event was promoted through social media and local press thus trying to reach as many citizens and interested parties as possible.