The founder of Greece’s first school for professional fishermen and an activist for cleaner seas and healthy fish stocks, Lefteris Arapakis, has been bestowed the honorary title of ambassador for the Mediterranean coast for 2021-22 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Awarded in the context of UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan, Arapakis says the title is “a recognition of the team’s work and shows us that we are on the right path, doing something that is having an impact.”
“It is a recognition of all the professional fishermen and all our associates in the battle against marine pollution from plastic.”
At just 26 years of age, Arapakis became the founder of Greece’s first professional fishing school, Enaleia. The school trains, strengthens and motivates the local fishing community to collect plastics from the sea, allowing fish stocks and the ecosystem to recover.
In 2020, he was also named one of seven ‘Young Champions of the Earth’ by the United Nations.
“It is a very important award, because it shows us that we are on the right path, that we are in the right direction for a more sustainable future,” Arapakis told The Greek Herald at the time of the award announcement.
“It is a recognition of the efforts of the whole team and the organisation. It also creates a very strong sense of responsibility. Now I feel we need to step up our efforts for a more sustainable planet, inspire more people and make a bigger impact.”