Thursday , September 24 2020

Zakynthos:- Tourists become volunteers in cleaning up after youth party on Lagana beach

As bars and restaurants closed across the island, residents had to deal with another problem. Tourists verging along the beachfront of Lagana bay. A bay that is home to the National Marine Park and a safe haven to the vulnerable sea turtle known as ‘Caretta Caretta’.

Crowds had gathered down Lagana, known as a party area to continue their celebrations. Most had bought bottles of alcohol, cans of beer and carried whatever they thought necessary to the beach.

What was left behind in the morning was a complete mess. Rubbish thrown all over the area. Broken bottles and cans, plastic bags causing a threat to our turtles alone. It was certainly not a sight for one of the most visited areas in Zakynthos and definitely not a sight for a National Marine Park.

 

Disappointed.

Visitors to our island, Vicki Hand and her partner Matt Cockle, were disgusted at what they found. Wanting to get their last perfect sunrise in before they returned home became disappointed at the view discovered.

They both did not hesitate and started to gather the rubbish, an effort that our visitors who partied the night before should have seen to. Instead, it was left for someone else to deal with.

Although annoyed at the idea that they had to clean up someone else’s mess it didn’t take them long to clean up.  They soon got the beach looking spick and span just how they wanted it to be. They could finally enjoy the Island they had come to love.

Social Media statement.

Vicki did make a note of frustration though and had posted it on a social media page. This is what she had to say:-

Decided to wake up early on our final day to watch the sunrise down Laganas Beach.

* Thank you to the government/police for closing the strip and sending everyone down the beach last night
* Thank you to the idiots who drank and blew up balloons. The beach and the sea is not a bin!!!
* Thank you to the people who sat on the beach and watched me pick up litter who gave no help and showed no gratitude.
* Finally, thank you to the restaurant owner who after letting me clear the beach in front of his restaurant, would not let me wash my hands.

This is someone else’s job tomorrow as I am going home!

Edit – why are plastic straws still being used in Zante? They pride themselves on their turtles and yet the beach was covered in plastic straws?!?!

We can read the disappointment in her words, and quite rightly so. Anyone in her situation would be disappointed, especially on holidays.

Vicki’s story.

Her words did not go unnoticed though. With over 44 shares it didn’t take long for tourist turned volunteer to make her statement known.

 

Zakynthos Informer was touched by the actions they took. Afterall not many on their holiday would go out of their way to clean up a beach that they won’t be using again. We thanked her for her compassion and for her generosity towards our Island. With interest in her story we asked Vicki if this was the first time she visited Zakynthos and Lagana, she answered:-

Yes, we were due to fly to Spain but due to the new quarantine rules we cancelled our flights and booked to go to Zante less than a week before we came.

I have to say, I loved my time there. The strip was great fun and the island was beautiful. I am certainly not condoning the people’s behaviour down the beach but when they suddenly shut the bars, it’s obvious what will happen.

I think the thing that angers me the most is the fact we managed to clear the beach using plastic bags which had been left on there.

The rule is simple, if you take a bag of drink etc to the beach, put your rubbish back in it.

There do need to be more bins on the beach but if rubbish was left in a bag on a wall it can easily be removed.

We went for breakfast in the morning and by the time we walked by again, all the rubbish was gone.

I imagined if we had left the rubbish on the beach it would be still be there. That’s what drove me and my partner to clear up the mess.

Also commenting on what happened that night she mentioned:-

Holiday makers cannot be blamed for wanting to carry on having a good time by midnight but surely this defeats the object of closing the bars where people are socially distancing and sitting down. This is just causing more problems by filling the beach with litter. It is madness.

I’d rather save the turtles than the people! There are enough of us!

Social media’s impact.

Vicki was shocked that her moment of frustration and disappointment on social media urged people to comment. Praise was given to her for the couples’ actions, although she did mention that she really wasn’t expecting “thanks”.

A huge Thank-you.

How can not one thank them, they were here on holidays. They went out of their way to make our Island clean once again. A tourist turned volunteer simply because they cared about our homeland. In my eyes, not only do they deserve a huge “thank -you.” They deserve to be an example of the type of tourists Zakynthos deserves, too. An example to the rest of us that just a little care and compassion for the world around us goes a long way. I THANK YOU, Vicki Hand and hope that our Island has the pleasure of your company once again <3

 

 

 

About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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