Lighthouse Relief is based in a very small community on Lesvos, Greece. Founded in response to the thousands of refugees arriving every day in rubber dinghies, the organisation is embedded in the local community providing a humanitarian response to the crisis. ECO Relief was formed in response to the huge amount of refuse left as a result of the refugee landings. The work not only protects the local environment but also the local main economies of fishing and tourism.
The island of Lesvos is perhaps best known for the many species of migratory birds that find shelter in its ecosystem. Nature-lovers are captivated by the biodiversity of the island’s wetlands, rivers and rich chestnut forests that are perfect for hikes, mountain biking and bird watching. Life jackets, rubber dinghies, outboard engines and the waste generated by thousands of refugees arriving on the island mount up on its beaches, polluting habitats on the cliffs and shore. The situation is compounded by items discarded by the local population, as well as by general commercial waste washed up by winds and currents. Following on from our successful 2018 programme, the objective in 2019 is to clean approximately 32 km of coastline and 50 km of trails, which constitute an important aspect of the natural beauty and appeal of the island. A special focus will be placed on recycling, as well as on community- and school-based involvement and educational activities to reduce overall plastic use. A series of events will encourage participation in beach-clearing, recycling and upcycling initiatives.