The refugee crisis has brought nearly 60,000 migrants to Greece, having a significant effect on the country’s environmental and economic situation. It has accentuated the damage on Greece’s already fragile environment, leaving many people worried that tourism will continue to be affected following the severe financial crisis. According to UNHCR data, the refugees are spread out between three main islands — Lesbos, Chios and Samos, as well as mainland Greece in the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki, where environmental damage is most prominent.
Waste Free Oceans (WFO) is an environmental non-profit organisation that collects plastic from the ocean and rivers, which is then mixed with plastic collected from land by waste pickers. The mixed plastic is then converted into panels that are used to build affordable houses/shelters for the local refugee communities. This contributes to the welfare of the population, by transforming Greece’s current devastation into job creation.
WFO’s mission is to find a long-term sustainable solution to the issue of refugees by implementing this concept in Greece. Overall, the organisation hopes to be actively involved in local prevention, by educating people, involving them in home rebuilding and raising awareness on waste collection and sorting. Last month, Alexandre Dangis, WFO Founder and Luc Mellaerts, WFO The Americas met with Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides and presented ways in which WFO could help the region with the humanitarian shelter project.
"Driving the limits of plastics recycling to the extreme in order to contribute to social housing and emergency shelters is a win-win situation for Greece. At the same time, this social, humanitarian project has an educational purpose that should not be underestimated.", says Alexandre Dangis, WFO Founder.
WFO aims to tackle two issues at once: cleaning seas and beaches of plastic waste and creating jobs in an economy where the youth unemployment rate reached approximately 38 percent in July 2018. While the country continues to struggle out of its ongoing refugee crisis, upcycling programmes that also employ refugees and migrants are the way forward to a cleaner and more prosperous Greece.
Now you can also get involved in Waste Free Oceans’ project and donate a minimum of 5 shelters to a refugee camp in Greece. Help us spread the word and build partnerships to ensure a circular economy.
For more information on how to sponsor our project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org