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Joint cleanup by HELMEPA, the U.S. Embassy in Greece and the Port Authority of Elefsis at the 2023 European Capital of Culture

US sailors, marines and Embassy officials participated in a coastal cleanup activity in Elefsina on Friday 25 November 2022 coordinated by the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA, the U.S. Embassy in Greece and the Elefsis Port Authority combining volunteerism with cultural and environmental awareness.


Marking the closing event of HELMEPA’s International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Greece, 80 sailors and marines from the USNS TRENTON (T-EPF 5) anchored off the port of Piraeus alongside Embassy officials, families and staff of the Port Authority cleaned up the Cronos docking area of Elefsina Bay. Fifty six (56) bags of marine litter were collected on the day and included litter ranging from, - plastic bottles and other consumer goods to elastic tires and mooring lines.


The cleanup was followed by an enlightening tour of the Ancient Site of Elefsis, led by Mr. Michail Marmarinos, General Artistic Director of Elefsis 2023 European Capital of Culture.


Heading the cleanup on the part of the U.S. Embassy were Deputy Chief of Mission Ms Maria Olson Consul General Mr. Benjamin Naseman, and U.S. Naval Attache Cdr Chris Lepore. Elefsis Port Authority was represented by Managing Director RADM (HCG) Apostolos Kamarinakis, Mr. George Kontoulis, Head of CSR, Quality and Environment and Port Captain (HCG) Aggelos Grammateas, while the entire activity was coordinated on the part of HELMEPA by Messrs Constantinos Triantafyllou, Head of Strategy & Development and Dimitris Kazas, New Generation Manager.


In recognition of his initiative, Mr. Kamarinakis presented Cdr Lepore with the emblem of the Port Authority, while the latter presented commemorative gifts of the U.S. Embassy to the participating organizations.


More than 7,500 volunteers have participated in 182 beach and underwater cleanups coordinated by HELMEPA members and partner organizations since mid-September throughout Greece, as part of the 2022 International Coastal Cleanup campaign. The findings of this mega campaign in terms of amounts, types and sources of collected litter will be processed and presented by HELMEPA in early 2023.