The Annual General Meeting of the Cultural Association of Clean Mani was held in Patriko Café, Stoupa on 24th November 2019. This page briefly gives a history of the association and its aims, and then describes our achievements over the past year and our plans for the future.
The History of the Association
Several of us met up in June 2017, because we were concerned with the continuing pollution in our municipality, as a result of rubbish not being collected in accordance with the law.
We decided to concentrate our energy to better address the more important environmental problems. We started in 2017 by visiting other volunteer groups in Sparta and Patras, who were also addressing these problems, and also the Municipal Authority in Sparta.
In addition, we invited various speakers from Koin Sep Patras, and Fifa Mirto from Kalamata, who informed us about composting as a method of recycling waste products. We also visited KDAV (Recycling Centre) in Kalamata in December 2017, where we were given a tour by the head of the organisation, Mt Karamanlis. Afterwards, we decided to set up our association. This goal was officially achieved in February 2018.
The aims of the association are to raise awareness, and involve the residents of the area in protecting the environment and dealing with waste according to the law.
We plan to take part in activities based on regular collaboration with the Municipal Authority and other state bodies. This includes issues such as educating the local population in dealing with waste, participation in the efforts of the association locally and in other areas of Greece, and the improvement in knowledge of the members and locals.
The means of achieving these aims are as follows:
- Posters, Facebook, E-Mails to members informing in advance of activities.
- Boards with photographs of our activities, and instructions for dealing with waste disposal.
- Brochures from the Association and also the Municipal Authority of West Mani.
- Demonstrations of the composter, bought from Fifa for this purpose, and demonstrations of separate collection containers (plastic, paper, aluminium, glass).
- T-shirts, coffee cups instead of plastic beakers to reduce the use of single-use plastic products, also pottery cups, and cloth shopping bags, with the logo of the association.
- Information in the press and on the internet.
- Legalising the burning of waste at Ritsa.
- Activities together with other associations and the Municipal Authority.
- Financial support thanks to contributions from members and from the sale of products, to raise awareness among residents not to use single-use plastic bags and other articles made of plastic.
Activities from July 2017 to November 2019
- Financing of two school trips to the Centre for Environmental Education in Messinia.
- Donation of two containers for paper for the primary school in Stoupa, value 150 euros.
- Donation of a bicycle “Radikala”, which is used to shred plastic, to the primary school in Stoupa in March 2018, value 400 euros.
- Donation of badges with the logo of the association, and of boards with sketches and pictures about the environment. These were designed by pupils who actively contributed. 6 boards were donated to the primary school in Kambos, and 6 to Kardamyli high school. Donation of 10 coffee cups to the staff at the high school, and 10 products from the association (3 t-shirts, 3 cups and 4 cloth bags) for the pupils of the high school during their voluntary participation in the clean-up at Ritsa.
- Presentations and organisation of voluntary clean-ups, playing the game “hidden rubbish” in the kindergartens of Stoupa and Kardamyli in June 2018, and also with the primary school in Kambos and the high school in Kardamlyi.
- Collaboration with the current Municipal Authority is included as a central aim in our statutes. We repeatedly sent letters to the Municipal Authority, with suggestions for collaboration and support from the association concerning information to residents and improvement in waste management.
- We specifically expressed our objection to behaviour which leads to the pollution of the environment, and which endangers the health of residents, as for example the burning of waste and the establishment of waste dumps. Our efforts culminated in sending letters to the Ministry for the Environment, Tourism and the Interior, and to the Regional Government.
- We gathered signatures to complain about the garbage bins not being emptied, and forwarded these to the Municipality of West Mani, and to the Head of the Environment at the District Administration of the Peloponnese.
- Volunteer Cleaning and Information Campaigns
- Event for children with information about the recycling of rubbish on Stoupa beach, in front of Patriko Cafe, in August 2018.
- Information campaign in Stoupa at the supermarkets Katerina’s and Panagiotopoulos in January 2018.
- Information campaign and volunteer cleaning in Aghios Nikolaos in March 2018.
- In collaboration with the association Androuvitsa and inhabitants of Exochori, a voluntary cleaning in the village was organised. The Kalamata Fire Brigade gave a speech about fire prevention.
- Cleaning campaign in Milea, in collaboration with the village residents, in August 2018
- Volunteer cleaning in Kardamyli as part of the Greek national campaign “Let’s do it” in April 2018.
- Volunteer cleaning in Neochori in November 2018 in collaboration with local organisations and residents, game for children of recycling of rubbish, and music from the “Tympanistas”.
- Volunteer cleaning in April 2019 at Ritsa in collaboration with Kardamyli high school.
- Information campaign and volunteer cleaning in Kambos Avias, in collaboration with Kambos primary school, in February 2019. The game “hidden rubbish”, and a slide show from the Association in the school playground.
- Information campaign in Kambos Avias at Katerina’s Market, in collaboration with representatives of the local council (Vice Mayor in charge of environmental issues and the chairman of the Municipal Council) in July 2019.
- Volunteer cleaning in Agios Nikolaos and participation in the festival “Mani Pulse” in September 2019.
- Volunteer cleaning from Kalives to Delphinia in October 2019, in collaboration with the local council.
- Volunteer cleaning at Ritsa in October 2019, in collaboration with the Municipal Authority and Kardamyli high school, as part of the world-wide Coastal Cleaning 2019, with support from HELMERA.
- Activities in Collaboration with Groups and the Council
- Participation in the programme of the association Nartura, which showed Christmas films in villages in the Mani. The activities of the association and the correct management of rubbish were emphasised.
- Participation in the Mani Pulse Festival, held every September in Agios Nikolaos, with a volunteer cleaning of the village, a stand with leaflets and products of the Association, and a board with photographs on the theme of environmental issues. The film „Plastic Ocean“ was screened, and children had the opportunity to produce items from recycled materials. Mrs Myrto Fifa made a presentation on how to use a composter.
- Participation at the 9th Mani Race in Stoupa on 6th July 2019.
- Participation every April in the Greek national clean-up activity “Let’s do it” Greece.
- Together with other organisations (Business Association of Stoupa, Hotel Owners‘ Association of Stoupa, Nartura, Mani Pulse, and the Cultural Association of Neochori), we signed a letter to the Municipal Authority, and also sent an announcement to local mass communication media ( press, TV and radio), complaining about the irregular emptying of the rubbish bins and the resultant downgrading of our area at the height of the tourist season.
- Together with Parents‘ Associations in the area, the management of Stoupa primary school and Kardamyli high school, a presentation, „Raising happy children“, from Mrs Aggelikis Roumeliotou Poupousa, who is supervisor at the Court for Minors in Kalamata, was arranged in February 2019.
- Letters – Correspondence
- E-Mail to the mayor in February 2018, concerning the removal of rubbish which had accumulated over weeks at Pantazi.
- E-Mail in July 2018 to the Vice Mayor in charge of environmentalissues, with a request to support and collaborate in raising awareness of people in the community to the problem of environmental pollution, and to identify ways of preventing such pollution in the future.
- In March 2018, a letter of protest to the mayor because of the burning of waste at Pantazi. We took this opportunity to again offer to collaborate with the Municipal Authority.
- Official invitation to residents, to take part in our activities and to contribute their own ideas and recommendations.
- In April 2018, letter to the mayor and notification to the leader of the largest opposition party, Mr Gianimaras, that we once again protest about the accumulation of waste around the garbage bins at Pantazi and on the road leading into Agios Nikolaos. In addition, our protest also addressed the existence of a garbage dump at the upper perimeter of the Vatrinitsa Gorge. We were made aware of this by complaints which we received.
- Letter to Municipal Authority, the District Administration, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Messinian deputies of thenational parliament, about the continuing extreme situation and emergency in the area because of the inadequate removal of rubbish.
- E-Mail to the Municipal Authority concerning damage at the Cultural Centre, specifically the condition of the glazed wall at the rear of the building.
- In November 2018, publication in local newspapers about the Municipal Authority‘s failure to have the rubbish bins emptied. In December 2018, publication in local newspapers about the burning of rubbish in Ritsa, around the bins, by employees of the Municipal Authority. Report of the incident to the police in Kardamyli and to the fire service in Kalamata.
- In March 2019, letter to the Municipal Authority, the District Administration, the Ministry for the Interior and Messinienmembers of the national parliament, about the continuing situation and emergency in the area because of the inadequate removal of rubbish.
- Letter to the Municipal Authorityand publication in mass communication media (press, TV and radio) from 6 organisations to the Municipalityof West Mani, complaining about the lack of the removal of rubbish in June 2019.
- Presentation of the Assocoation and its activities in the publication “Inside Mani” in August 2019.
- Gathering of signatures from residents and tourists in the area, complaining about the lack of removal of rubbish. The signatures were forwarded to the Municipality and to the Administration of the Environment at the District Government ofthe Peloponnese in August 2019.
- Other Activities
- The Association applied for support from the local programme for agricultural development 2014 – 2020 ESPA, in the section „Support for Cultural Events“, under the supervision of the office of Mr Giannakea Nikolaou.
- A nature trip was organised to the Vasiliki forest in November 2018, the theme of the excursion being the gathering of mushrooms.
- In September 2019 on Stoupa beach, and in October in the garden of Giorgitsa in Kardamyli, the presentation of 2 musical theatre playlets about recycling and composting, and the prevention of environmental pollution. Many children took part, as well as the municipal band and the musicians Katsikeas Ilias and Evangelos Koutsoumbos. We received valuable musical support from the Association member John Germeraad.
- On 26 January 2019, presentation of an award to the Clean Mani Association from the Association of Maniots in Kalamata, with the donation of a commemorative plaque and a picture of the saint Agios Nikon.
- The Municipal Council of West Mani decided to include 2 members (Sofia Christofilopoulou, Paula Forney) in the recently established committee, which will submit proposals to the Municipality concerning cleaning and the environment.
Proposals for the future
- Specific use of active micro-organisms
- Closer collaboration with the Municipality and schools (competition for the cleanest school, to encourage our children to become actively involved citizens)
- Invitations to outstanding speakers
- The participation of people to translate texts of the Association into English, and for the maintenance of the electronic information flow is necessary.
- Communication and collaboration with other volunteer organisations in Greece, and putting pressure on representatives of the Municipality and the government until environmental problems are given priority.
- Collaboration with local businesses which produce large amounts of rubbish.
- In collaboration with the Municipality, finding a location, a Green Point, for depositing bulky rubbish, for example cut-offs from pruning, mattresses, furniture, building waste etc.
- Applying the principle of “sorting at source” and the establishment of a “cyclical economy”.
- Organisation of nature trips, to encourage feelings of responsibility for the protection of nature, as well as educational trips in the area to Municipalities which are implementing the principles described under the previous item, for example Sparti.
- Organisation of “exchange” bazaars, for items which we no longer need, but which could find a “second life” with someone else, rather than them ending up in the rubbish bins. This could include books, clothing, furniture, toys etc.
We have high hopes for raising the awareness of residents, and in their support in committing to the protection of the environment, and to waste management. Our hopes are especially invested in the younger generation, who have to take over the reins before it is too late. When we are informed, responsible and active citizens, when we reduce consumption and think twice about what we toss in the rubbish, then there will be no more rubbish, only re-cycled materials, which can be put to many uses.