Today’s meeting with Mr T. Nikitaras, Mr S Pis and the foreign resident volunteers from Keep Kos Clean
(Program of actions …)
The “Keep Kos Clean” team, (which also exists on facebook) with the active participation of foreign language members from almost all villages, had a meeting today at the City Hall with Deputy Mayor T. Nikitaras, and councillor Mr S. Pis who is responsible for the cleanliness of Kos, as well as the CEO of the Kos Marina (who is helping in the effort) Mr M. Pastrikos.
It was decided during the meeting for the KKC team to work more closely with the City authorities (Mr T. Nikitaras & Mr S Pis enthusiastically thanked them saying that they are a role model for all of the Koans), and the City offered assistance where needed for the planned Cleanup in March:
Sunday, March 10 – Mastichari voluntary cleaning and Kefalos (Kamari)
March 22 – Lagoudi-Koniario
March 30 – Lambi.beach
Dates yet to be set for Kardamena, Tingaki and Psalidi
Images were also shown of the ugliness and neglect in various regions of the island, especially in the winter months, with closed down shops and other businesses in the tourist zone of Kardamena. Specific emphasis was made by the KKC team that when businesses closes down due to unfortunate circumstances, the building should be restored to a neutral state if it is to be left empty. This was in reference to the taking down of signs, removal of stickers and advertising materials on storefront windows, and the general tidying up of the property. It is the responsibility of both the business-owner who is leaving the property, as well as the owner of the building. A sense of responsibility must be instilled in people who own property. The status and privilege of owning a property brings with it a responsibility, both financially as well as socially, to maintain those buildings. This applies to land/building owners who are resident on the island as well as those who have left Kos to live elsewhere.
A method was introduce after much research, to address the problem of graffiti on the island, using ecologically sound products brought in from the UK. The deputy mayors were very interested in these products and asked for specific details with a view to purchasing for the city. The products can clean graffiti off any surface, including marble, tree trunks, stone, cement etc. The cost is minimal and will also clean the spray paint off the road signs, which will save the council an awful lot of money, as these signs up until now have been replaced if they are defaced. There was also a discussion about another liquid product that can be applied to all surfaces which has an active ingredient that prevents spray paint from drying, therefore rendering the graffiti useless, as the paint simply runs off the surface. This product is, again, ecologically sound, cheap, and lasts for 10 years.
Mr T. Nikitaras stressed that he is even looking into hosting a mini festival where graffiti can be displayed in a specific area (with a prize for the best wall art). This, along with music, is a way for young people to express their feelings in a controlled, legal manner. It was stressed that the youth on the island must be educated and made to understand that graffiti is simply not acceptable in public areas. How this can be monitored, however, was not discussed.
It was requested that new rubbish bins are provided along the coastal road of Lambi, as at present there are none. This will encourage the public to dispose of their rubbish in accepted receptacles rather than leaving it on the beach/roadside.
Noted features on Keep Kos Clean’s Facebook page:
Kos is a very picturesque island, but unfortunately, her beauty has been destroyed by tons of garbage.
We hope to raise more awareness, in all public sectors, of the importance of collecting our rubbish, and maintaining a clean and safe environment for residents, tourists and for nature.
Each of us can make a change, no matter how small … imagine if everyone picked up one piece of rubbish every day; in one year, one person would have picked up 365 pieces of rubbish!
The intention is to organize voluntary cleaning incentives, at various points around the island, in partnership with the local council (their role will include the collection of garbage and recyclables).
They suggest a clean up twice a month during the winter.
It is hoped that local authorities will be involved, the Organization of Hoteliers , the Municipal Police, the Coast Guard and other organizations for the cleaning of our island.
Translated from Aegeanews.gr by Donna Hatzizacharia, with additional reporting by Emma Karanastasi, a member of the KKC team.