Apr 13, 2019 03:18 PM EDT
GREECE -- In Keratsini, the fish market is open 24 hours. Under the floodlights, the crew wearing rubber waders and boots to fight the cold wash down the boats that come into the harbor. They are also in charge of the repairs of the nets dangling from boat cranes. They do all that after they have put ice on the basket of shrimp, mullet, calamari, and hake -- all taken from their latest pick.
Recently, rather fish gets caught in the net, there have been a lot of other objects. "We are talking about waste. A lot of garbage gets caught in the nets," says Dmitri Dalianis. "We find it almost every night just about everywhere."
Fighting for an environmental cause was far from the mind of the 47-year old fisherman Dmitri. Like any captain of the sea all over the world, catching fish has always been the first on his mind. However, after living 30 arduous life at sea, he begins to see how people have significantly changed the contents of the ocean. "It's like there is more garbage than fish and it's devastating," Dalianis said.
Dalianis has become known as Piraeu's youngest captain, but he only became popularly known as someone who removes the garbage from the waters plied by his boat. These days, because his fish nets can go really deep into the ocean, it returns to him with more than what he expects.
"Cans, bottles, plastics -- these are the things that I most commonly get out of the ocean," he says. For a moment, he was caught smiling at the thought that if he did the clean-up every day, eventually, all of the ocean will be clean. "I have seen sea creatures, dolphins, turtles, they ingest these plastics."
The ocean can be very hard on fishermen. He also revealed that there are days when they'd come home empty-handed because instead of their nets were filled with fish, they come home with just garbage. Not so long ago, Dalianis revealed that he was tempted to do what his peers were doing with all the garbage -- throw it back into the ocean. But now, he and his five crew members have become voluntary rubbish collectors -- making sure that all the trash that gets collected from the nets are properly thrown in the bin and not back in the ocean waters.
On his return after three days of being out into the sea, he brings with him not only seafood for consumption and business but also a huge pile of garbage.
"When you see garbage out of the ocean, you can tell how long it has been there. It is like it has created its own ecosystem where it thrives because it makes the ocean dirty, he said."
Dalianis is just one of the few ocean heroes out there. But who need more ocean heroes when everyone is doing their share of properly disposing of garbage. Perhaps what is truly needed is that everyone become more responsible for their trash and saves the earth in more ways than they think they could.
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