In a recent Instagram post, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio shared a video about the “toxic” waste stuck to the seabed off the Greek island of Andros.
Andros Mayor Theodosis Sousoudis was quick to respond — and defend his island — calling DiCaprio’s post “unfair,” and claiming that it creates a misconception about the island.
“Unfortunately, the style of the post is unfair to us and gives the impression that the whole island is in this state,” Sousoudis said in a statement on Tuesday.
DiCaprio had posted footage of volunteers collecting waste from the Andros’ seabed — along with the following caption:
“Plastic bags and toilet seats. Hundreds of discarded fishing nets. All of this was stuck to the seabed of Greece’s Andros island. Volunteers collected over 660lbs [272 kilograms] of plastic waste. But some say the microplastics leave an invisible imprint on the environment and even ourselves. They can be consumed by fish that then become a part of our diet.”
Mayor Sousoudis admitted that Andros’ waste problem has existed since 2011, when “extreme weather pushed waste from a landfill approximately 800 meters (half a mile) from the coast” into the sea.
“Our mistake back then was that we didn’t investigate the sea because we thought the volume of rubbish hadn’t reached the water,” Sousidis explained.
But he insists that the aforementioned problem has not had negative effects on tourism, which he claims has seen a massive boast in recent years.
“Andros is very clean,” Sousoudis told Greek broadcaster One TV. “The beaches are very clean, and we have seen a huge increase in tourism over the last three years.”
Days prior to DiCaprio’s Instagram post, Sousoudis had posted on Facebook expressing his gratitude to those who participated in the same seabed cleanup being referenced by DiCaprio.
His message (translated from Greek) reads as follows:
“Today the task force arrived and will attempt to map and quantify the volume of waste in the Schinia marine area, where it had fallen as part of the landfill in February 2011.
On the occasion of recent reports flooding the internet, from findings by the volunteer Aegean Rebreath team, the business was immediately designed by our municipality, (10 days ago), in order to find a solution to the major problem.
I would like to thank the company that responded promptly to our request and provided us with specialized scuba divers and suitable diving material.
I would also like to thank Mr. Dimitris Petsas who, with his motor boat, voluntarily transported the diving team to the pollution site.
In a few days we will have full details of the problem in order to find the most suitable solution.”
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