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Dressed all in black and preparing his diving gear with loud zips and clicks, George Sarelakos looks like he's part of a Greek naval operation ready to storm an island or take down smugglers. He's not – but he and four other volunteer divers do have a challenging mission: Clearing the plastic trash from the seafloor that's suffocating Greece's marine life.In a 2015 study, researchers trawled five coastal areas in the eastern Mediterranean and found that 60 percent of the marine litter detected was in the Saronic Gulf bordering greater Athens.The EU plans to make all plastic packaging on the market recyclable by 2030 and wants member states to crack down on single-use plastic, with consumers using no more than 40 lightweight plastic bags annually by 2025 .Only 16 percent of trash is recycled here, compared with the EU's average of 44 percent.The site's environmental officer, Ioanna Kapsimali, is another volunteer diver in the Athens marine cleanups. She says it's impossible to contain all the plastic at the landfill.On a three-hour trash collection with volunteers and municipal workers, plastics were cleared from a small strip of beachfront on the edge of the marsh – including 3,476 plastic bottles and 549 plastic bags.
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