"In my capacity as Minister of National Defence, I am pleased to be here with you, in this symbolic ceremony, regarding the pilot run of one of the comprehensive rewarding recycling programs available in Greece.
Recycling is a matter related to the environmental conscience of all of us: the state, the local government, the citizens, the business sector, the entire society. Today, we are struggling to achieve development with total respect for the environment, society, and the economy, which constitute the three pillars of sustainable growth.
Real improvement in the quality of life is only achieved through respect for the environment, because a clean environment does not only ensure a better quality of life, but our own future as well. It is a serious and complex matter, which needs a right approach and method.
Effective waste management and recycling are absolutely necessary. This must be understood by everyone, before it is too late. The constantly increasing impact to the environment and the unnecessary waste of resources require immediate action by the state and the citizens.
The positive consequences of recycling in practice are enormous. It greatly contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ground, water, and sea pollution. Furthermore, proper waste management creates jobs and opportunities for the enterprises.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I really believe that recycling in the Armed Forces is a matter that needs to be addressed through the implementation of a comprehensive policy, which will connect the environment to economic growth. The Ministry has already issued the "Green Paper" and the "Ministry of National Defence Environmental Policy", which include the most important environmental protection and energy saving actions and the integration of the sustainable growth principles in the Armed Forces activities, respectively. Furthermore, the military and civilian personnel undergo continuous training on environmental matters and especially the newly recruited soldiers, airmen, and seamen.
Today’s action is part of our operational planning, upgrading civil-military cooperation, which we constantly seek and which is a part of the high level social contribution of the Armed Forces, reinforcing the ties with society and forging social cohesion. We consider the Armed Forces’ social contribution extremely important and it is imperative that the Armed Forces, the state structures, the local government, the citizens, and all institutional entities of our country cooperate.
For this reason, next year will be the year of promotion of the Armed Forces’ contribution to society and the citizens.
We must lay great emphasis on raising citizen awareness regarding their active participation in the recycling effort of our country. That is the reason why I stress the important role that the local government must play – and it does – with regard to this effort. Its actions regarding the installation of recycling systems benefit and facilitate local societies, because no environmental policy can be successful without support by the citizens and without everyone helping protect the environment.
Addressing everyone, I would like to say that, with work and responsibility, I believe that we will finally succeed in exercising effective environmental policy and at the same time reinforcing society’s environmental conscience. This way, we will succeed in effectively protecting our environment, our home.
This effort began in the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair. Together with the U.S. Ambassador, we visited the U.S. pavilion, since the U.S.A. was the honoured country, and we were introduced to a company which cooperates with the U.S.A. and Greece in the recycling effort.
Within a short time, we managed to have the pleasure to inaugurate today the first Recycling Unit and we intend to develop this pilot plan across Greece, where Armed Forces structures exist, in order to assist local communities to join the recycling sector.
I would like to thank my dearest friend, the U.S. Ambassador and the representative of ENVIPCO for contributing to the fulfilment of our aspiration to make recycling everyone’s business and part of everyday life.
In the context of the Armed Forces’ contribution to society and the Armed Forces’ ties with the citizens, you will be seeing more such actions in the following days and throughout the next year.
Thank you very much”.