Our seas, so precious for our survival, suffocate daily. It is estimated that more than 150 million tonnes of plastic are found in the seas while more than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in seawater every year. It is impressive the fact that 10% of all marine litter is decommissioned and forgotten fishing nets.
In the European Union, plastic accounts for over 80% of beach litter. Half of it concerns disposable items. Decomposition in the sea takes 10-20 years for a plastic bag, 50 years for plastic coffee packaging and 450 years for plastic bottles while cigarette butts, which are more common during beach cleaning, have high levels of toxins and their non-biodegradable filters are transformed into microplastics.
Fortunately, the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands has developed a network of 40 separate collection points for cigarette butts throughout the city of Corfu so that its citizens and visitors can dispose of their cigarette butts in them and then all these can be led to a safe detoxification and recycling on new plastic products.
The European Union and other international organizations consider marine litter as a global threat, at multiple levels (environment, public health etc.) For this reason, the European Union has banned disposable plastics, which can be replaced by viable products. The European Union has even adopted a Strategy for Plastics that changes the way they are designed, used, produced and recycled based on the circular economy's principles.