Environmental issues (8th interview)
We begin the eighth interview of the program, this one on environmental issues of Halki and with us today we have Rania Ioannou, who is a resident of Halki and in the last two years she studies in Heraklion, Crete and Petros Ioannou also a Halki resident who deals with fishing and more.
Rania let’s start with you, tell me how do people your age perceive the environmental issues? What do they think about Halki’s environmental problems?
I believe that in recent years more and more people are involved with it. The climate is changing, life is more difficult in the summer with a lot of heat and drought, so that life becomes more difficult for those fishing, those who work with archeology in the Castle, generally with their jobs. Things are easier in winter.
So do people of your age consider the climate issue as a heat problem mainly?
Yes, because here in Halki, fortunately, we do not have a pollution problem, we have clean beaches that we take care especially in recent years, even the port is still clean and safe for swimming.
Usually ports are not clean, why do you think the port is clean here? Do you swim at the port?
Yes I have, I think that fishermen also take care of the port too so it is quite clean
How about you Petros? What do you think of the climate and environment issues nowdays and how were things in the past?
I think it has very big difference. Previously, for example, you came to the grocer and had special bags of rice, lentils, macaroni. Now all this fun is standardized and canned if I may say. We then had a garbage man but it was for certain things only. Even laundresses had a can used originally for oil and waste was thrown there in that special can and then in the sea. The evil that now exists in the sea was never to be found back then. The seashore ie, the small coves and beaches, gouged winter tar and cork. Now you can find anything you can imagine, plastic, bags, even syringes. Nowdays you do not get anything from the store that you do not put it in something that is not plastic. And for transporting the goods, the bag is also plastic. Then we had a canvas bag that we used for our shopping. Now there is a bag for every good. Where will this thing go?
Do you believe that the residents here are aware of such problems or do the rubbish existing here come form somewhere else?
They don’t even respect the waste here. For example, a ship vessel traveling and disregards rubbish at sea whereas it should normally be put in a bag and when it reaches the port to put it in the trash. The beaches are filled with waste everyday.
So Rania, do you believe that people of your age are sensitive on these issues? For example not throwing plastic rubbish at sea?
People of my age yes, they are. Younger children are not. They do not think about it so hard and in the long term. I believe as you grow this behaviour is cultured. Environment and recycling is very important, so it is a very good step that our municipality promotes recycling.
Are you optimistic that things will be better for your generation?
Yes because I think that we all realize that the environment is a serious issue.
How about you Petros?
25-30 years ago, a group of tourists cane to have a round the island trip with a boat called Taxiarchis. Then a tourist pulled out a package of cigarettes to smoke. She looked to find the boat container for ashes. She did not find one but she wrapped the ashes in the package and brought it back to the island to throw in the rubbish bin.
Do you think that other fishermen take care of the port?
No they don’t. They throw bottles, cigarettes and other stuff in the sea.
Why do you think they do that?
Negligence it is. They clean up the shops with running water and throw it in the sea. They also throw ice cubes and other rubbish in the sea.
So Rania focusing on what Petros says, what do you think could change so that shopkeepers, fishermen and others do not do this? I guess they do not do it on purpose, they are just ignorant.
We are all people though and understand. They know that they do harm, that they pollute the sea. Beyond the right information, I think is a personal matter for anyone. A person alone should be careful and be concerned.
Apart from local cleanliness, do you think that fishermen, tourists, shoppers know the real problems that they cause? For example, a wash with bleach, do they know what impact has that for the sea?
I think they knowthat, especially peoplemy agebecause latelywe getcorrect informationin schoolsabout such issues.But we arepeople andwhen weseesomethingwrong, we say’shame’, butthenwedo exactly thesame. E.gfishermensay’look what the otherfisherman did’ but he is not carefulhimself.
We need to do the right thing first and then go after other people.
Petros: The kids know, but do not do anything about it …
Thank you both for your time