Our second episode takes us to Greece to meet Lefteris Arapakis, a young social entrepreneur and the 2021 UNEP-MAP Ambassador for the Mediterranean Coast.
Lefteris takes us with him through his journey of ENALEIA, which stands for ''together with the fishers” and started as the first professional fishing school in Greece, sharing his experiences with the sea and discussing the role of social inclusion in making the oceans more sustainable. After seeing the fishers catching vast amounts of plastic in the Mediterranean, his will to make change happen kicked in and ever since he is working to embed environmentally friendly practices in the profession, mobilising the local fishers to fight marine plastic pollution by collecting marine plastic and handing over to Enaleia their used fishing gear.
''And since the most common form of plastics is fishing gear, we decided to start working with the fishing communities to prevent that phenomenon from happening. So now all of these fishermen, there are more than 1500 at the moment, give us their old fishing equipment, to prevent it from entering the sea and becoming ghost gear'' (Lefteris)
Thanks to this endeavour, the (fishermen) fishers affiliated with this social enterprise remove about 20 tonnes of plastic from the sea every month. And while Enaleia started as a fishing school, it has now evolved into a fully-fledged organisation that works with the local fishing communities to clean up plastics from the sea and which facilitates the integration of the material into the circular economy.
''We are really trying to make them part of the solution and tear them away from being part of the problem'' (Lefteris)
Fishing truly is one of the oldest connections to the ocean we have. Thank you, Lefteris for showing the power of local engagement and how solutions can and need to be built together!
Read our episode transcript here.
Watch a short Euronews documentary on ENALEIA: https://www.euronews.com/culture/2021/11/29/meet-the-greek-fisherman-cleaning-up-the-mediterranean-sea
Visit the main website of ENALEIA here: www.enaleia.com
Follow Enaleia: https://www.instagram.com/enaleia/