Greek LIFE Task Force - LIFE Capacity Building

August 2018 - LIFE DEBAG

Α) Identity of the project

Title/ N°

"Integrated information and awareness campaign for the reduction of plastic bags in the marine environment” - LIFE DEBAG

LIFE14 GIE/GR/001127


September 2015 – March 2018- Extension date: January 2019


€ 1,26 million



-University of Patras, (Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography)(coordinating beneficiary)
-TERRA NOVA – Environmental Engineering Consultancy Ltd
-Mediterranean SOS Network
-Ecological Recycling Society
-Panteion University, Research University Institute of Sustainable Development and Human Resources, Urban Environment and Human Resources

Location of activities

Syros Island, Cyclades Islands, Aegean Sea (pilot area) - Nationwide



George Papatheodorou, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


LIFE DEBAG project aims at developing and implementing an integrated information and awareness - raising campaign for the prevention – reduction of plastic bag pollution in the marine environment. The main objectives of the LIFE DEBAG project are to:

  • Improve the knowledge base and create awareness about the problem of plastic bags use and disposal through an integrated information campaign in national level, as well as to tackle this environmental problem at a local level, through an intensive information and education campaign in Syros Island.
  • Improve educational efforts to educate teachers and pupils to reduce their usage of plastic bags.
  • Contribute to change Greece from a throwaway society into a sustainable society starting from plastic bags, a central and visible aspect of today's disposable culture.
  • Monitoring, assessment of the project and dissemination of its results in order to stimulate its repeatability, while providing added value for the EU.
  • .

Β) Best Practices

Α very intensive information campaign taking place in the project’s pilot area, Syros Island, through a series of events and activities spread out over three “Plastic bag free weeks”, is at the core of the project. All of the project’s public events and activities are supported by the Municipality of Syros and other local authorities. A nationwide information campaign is also running across TV, radio and print, electronic and social media.  Educational lectures in schools and teachers’ seminars are held in Syros and a relative educational package has been produced and delivered.

Questionnaires and web based campaigns are performed to examine the impact of the project to the local community and to evaluate the socio-economic benefits arising from the plastic bags reduction.

The project targets stakeholders on a national level, mainly through their participation in a series of fora. These stakeholders’ meeting became the main consultation process between stakeholders’ and the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy. The project’s proposals were submitted to the different legislative bodies and were presented to the Hellenic Parliament’s Environmental Committee. As a result, the project has contributed significantly in the implementation of EU legislation in Greece and the resulting Joint Ministerial Decree (ΦΕΚ Β’ 2812/10.8.2017) regarding the use of thin plastic carrier bags.

LIFE DEBAG project emphasizes on the monitoring of the marine environment of Syros, through and after its awareness raising and education campaigns. The systematic monitoring scheme of beach stranded litter and benthic litter includes supplementary field work surveys incorporating new technologies for aerial (drones) and underwater (tow camera system, side scan sonar) surveying.

C) Results

So far, the project succeeded to reach its set targets and to achieve its main objectives by delivering significant impact to the marine environment of the project’s pilot area. Key figures up to date comprise:

  • 3 “Plastic bag free weeks” in Syros Isl.
  • 5 stakeholders’ meetings with hundreds of participants
  • 6,090 students from 56 schools in six areas (Syros, Paros, Naxos, Mykonos, Attiki and Thessaloniki) attended the educational presentations
  • 175 hotels and room rental facilities informed and 4,082 permanent info sheets in 8 languages delivered.
  • 220 voluntary agreements were signed by local shop-owners
  • 11,800 cotton reusable bags distributed to local inhabitants and visitors
  • 4,569 views on the project's TV spot on YouTube
  • more than 560,000 views and 6,650 shares of the project's TV spot through its share from the European Commission's channels
  • 25,272 unique people have visited the project’s official website
  • 2,679 views of the 7 videos presenting aims and activities of the project

The intensive monitoring scheme on the marine environment of Syros showed:

  • 65% reduction in beach stranded plastic bags on Syros coasts
  • 33% reduction in plastic bags’ contribution in the sea-floor litter load in Ermoupoli’s Bay

More specifically:

  • 60,000 litter items collected and recorded on the beaches
  • 3,100 litter items detected and classified on the seafloor videos
  • 550 beach litter items identified in the aerial drone imagery

LIFE DEBAG managed to affect national legislation on single-use plastic bags and through dissemination of the outcomes and networking, set a good example which is appealing for replication, based on its excellent results.