By 2050, according to a study presented on 8 November at an event organized by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos (S&D) and the IUCN European Regional Office in Brussels, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish and 99% of seabirds will ingest plastic as well as 52% of sea turtles. In Europe specifically, 100,000 tons of waste are discharged into the seas. The majority of plastic waste is disposable and consists of: 2.5 billion food packages, 580 billion cigarette butts, 16 billion plastic cups, 36.4 billion drinking straws and 46 billion plastic bottles! But there are lessons to take from Ancient Hellas.


Jacques Yves Cousteau’s son, Pierre Yves, has presented important facts about the state of the oceans today: 70% of the plastic remains at the bottom of the ocean, 15% floats, while the remaining 15% is in the water column between the surface and the bottom. The Guardian, has revealed that 80% of drinking water in Europe contains microplastics.

“During my last visit to Santorini, I visited the archaeological site in Akrotiri. I was impressed by the way the Ancient Greeks stored in their jars the olive oil and the wine. I think we can take lessons from this. The problem we are facing today is something that has been the main concern of all the great civilisations in the past: the production, storage and shipping of goods. During the last century, the way we chose to do it was not sustainable.”

The UN’s representative for the environment in Brussels, Ulf Björnholm, proposed the following:

“We need regulations, economic incentives and voluntary action. It is also necessary to promote the circular economy. We should reduce the production of both disposable and non-recycled plastics, for example in cosmetics and cars"

On 6-7 December, the UN is organizing a world conference entitled "Towards a pollution-free planet," while an information campaign has already been launched, inviting governments, companies and civil society to take part in the initiative and take local action.

This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart and outside of contributing to Pandora's Kharis, this is where most of my giving goes to. The ancient Hellenes didn't care about the environment like we care about the environment, but they didn't have to. They hadn't polluted the earth like we have. I'm shoehorning this issue into my blog because this is something I care greatly about and changing perception and behavior matters. We are not killing the planet, we are killing ourselves and millions of animals by living in a society that is build on profit, not sustainability, and there are definitely lessons to take from ancient Hellas in that regard.