Interview by Cosmina Bajan
Greek translation Athanasios Petousis
On the 14th of April 13 municipalities in Greece saved the date for Let’s Do It, an event taking place each year in most of the countries of the world. Let’s Do It is about making the citizens more aware of the importance of living in a clean environment, of helping their community and taking care of their environmental heritage by cleaning different specific places in their area. Lefkada is the only one of the Ionian Islands who participated this year for the second time to this event. Let’s Do It Lefkada was organized by the national NGO who manages the event in the entire country with the help and support of the Municipality of Lefkada. The municipality had the role to mobilize people, to assure the infrastructure for transporting the waste and of course making the event visible for the people of Lefkada City and also the entire island. We had the chance to participate to the event as EVS volunteers for the host organization, Tamonopatia and also as journalists, interviewing the vice-mayor in charge with the organization of this event, Mr. Zouridakis. With Mr. Zouridakis we had the chance to discuss about Let’s Do it but also about other environmental projects of the Municipality of Lefkada.
You are the representative of the Municipality in charge with the organization of Let’s Do It Lefkada. Was it difficult to mobilize the people to take part in such an activity?
The volunteering Office of the Municipality made efforts to mobilize citizens and to popularize the event trough the mass-media and other communication channels – radio, internet, and newspapers. Usually people are sensitive to the issues related to the environment but to be honest I expected a larger number of participants. Our effort was towards the mobilization of the entire community in the island; therefore we send invitations to all Municipalities of the island, to schools and high schools, cultural institutions and associations, sports clubs and so on. In the smaller localities inside the island the participation was better than in Lefkada. Outside Lefkada City we only had a problem in Nidri where a gap of communication related to the hour and place of meeting occurred and so I think we will repeat the action. To sum up, larger degree of participation from the citizens is wanted. As a country we are at the beginning of the road in terms of volunteering because in the years before the crisis we did not pay enough attention to this activity. We hope that during crisis the value and importance of volunteering for human solidarity and environmental protection will be more appreciated and recognized by the Greek society.
From where did you have the most positive and participatory response related to this event?
The most positive and encouraging response and mobilization we received from Lygia where all the students from the elementary school took part to Let’s Do It and helped cleaning the garbage in their school yard and all the surroundings. Mobilization was also good in the other localities in the island, but Lygia definitely gave the most positive response. I take this chance to thank them for their participation and I hope that the other communities will take them as a positive example.
What are you expectations from this event?
Let’s do it Greece wants to transmit a series of messages and I believe that the most important one that all of us who were involved in this action want to transmit refers to the need to protect the environment. This message must be heard across the island and it must reach first and foremost the children. They have to understand since small age the importance of cleaning the nature and keeping it clean in order for them to have a healthy life and for our planet to survive. Another important message that we expect to have transmitted through this action is that each one of us can contribute to the cleaning of our island, helping the Municipality and the entire community.
This is the second year when you organize Let’s Do it in Lefkada. Apart from this, can you tell us more about the priorities of the Municipality of Lefkada related to environmental policies and environmental protection in the island?
The priorities of the Municipality consist into many projects we have related to different environmental topics. Firstly we have in development this educational project, we want to print and distribute a booklet for children in school in order to make the aware of the dangers of pollution. Secondly every summer we improve the project of prevention and penalty of fire. In Lefkada there is much green and many trees and summer fires happen frequently. The third priority is more or less related to the first one. We have in development and want to continue with this campaign for encouraging biking and walking in Lefkada City and also in Nidri.
What should a good lefkadian/citizen of Lefkada do in order to have a green life and positive impact over nature?
A good green citizen in Lefkada must first of all protect the environment at any cost and he must also understand the fact that here in our island, the sea and the nature are our gold.