What to Do with Tens of Thousands of Discarded Life Vests Piling Up in the Greek Isles?

by Owen James Burke

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Screenshot from the BBC’s video clip taken from Lesbos.

An estimated three-quarters of a million migrants have made the shores of Europe this year alone, mostly in the Greek Islands bordering Turkey. As a result, “tens of thousands” of lifejackets, the BBC reports lie along the shores of islands including Lesbos, where fishermen now say the waters are so clogged that they can’t even manage to fish.

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Screenshot from the BBC’s video clip taken from Lesbos.

Unfortunately, these mountains of nylon, plastic and foam are presenting a far greater, long-term dilemma. Some are calling them an “ecological timebomb”, but, according to the BBC, authorities say they don’t have the capacity to “dispose” of the safety vests.

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Screenshot from the BBC’s video clip taken from Lesbos.

That is a lazy response, at best. The lifejackets, likely worn only the once, are hardly waste requiring ‘disposal’, and can easily be redistributed and repurposed. Perhaps they can’t (realistically) make it back from where they came to be worn by other migrants–while many boats may be headed from the Middle East and North Africa toward Europe, very few are making the reverse voyage–but surely, they can be put to use somehow, somewhere, no?

Read more at the BBC.

–OJB

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