90,000 items of garbage found on Greek beaches
Touted among the most pristine in the world, Greek beaches were nevertheless covered in more than 91,000 items of garbage last year, a leading local environmental organisation said on Wednesday.
The trash picked up over the year by volunteers included plastic bottles and bags, bottle caps, food containers and discarded fishing equipment, an official at the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association told AFP.
But the 'king of garbage' in Greece is the cigarette -- more than 35,000 butts were picked up in the course of last year, Ta Nea daily commented Wednesday.
The trash had an accumulated weight of 16 tonnes, the daily said.
In comparison, similar campaigns picked up around 16,000 items of rubbish in Italy, 14,000 in Spain and 3,000 in Portugal.
The cleanup was part of a campaign in 104 countries organised by US-based environment group Ocean Conservancy.
Few beaches along Greece's 18,400-kilometre (11,433-mile) rugged coastline have garbage bins -- and among those present even fewer are serviced.
The findings are consistent with poor environmental practice seen elsewhere in Greece.
Only around 25 percent of waste is recycled and the government has spent years trying to close down thousands of illegal dumps across the country.
The Greek economy is heavily reliant on tourism revenue, which in 2007 amounted to 11.4 billion euros (14.8 billion dollars).