Record-breaking rower visits Weston to clear seafront of plastic menace

Beach clean at Weston beach joined by transatlantic rower Kiko Matthews. SF25,05,19

Beach clean at Weston beach joined by transatlantic rower Kiko Matthews. SF25,05,19 - Credit: Archant

Dozens of people gave up their free time at the weekend to tidy up Weston beach, and they were joined by record-breaking adventurer.

Transatlantic rowing record-holder Kiko Matthews led a beach clean at Royal Sands on May 25 as part of her epic tour of the UK's coastline to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Several bags of rubbish were collected as the volunteers vied to both spruce up the seafront and remove harmful plastics from the ecosystem.

Kiko, who last year claimed the record for the fastest woman to row the Atlantic solo and unsupported, said she received 'amazing' support in Weston.

Since earning her world record, the environmentalist has not rested on her laurels, embarking on another mammoth journey - the Kik Plastic tour.

The project which will see her cycle 7,200km of the UK's coastline to lead beach cleans in more than 70 locations in hope of making a dent in plastic pollution.

She said: "This challenge has been about creating awareness for the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans and it's been amazing to see the support by so many organisations along the way.

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"We're helping to magnify the conversation and leave communities equipped to continue the challenge once we've left."

Weston was the 21st stop on the tour, and plastic collected from the beach will be used by Keep Britain Tidy to make a stage for next month's Glastonbury Festival entirely out of recycled plastic collected at beach cleans.

Efforts to tackle single-use plastic waste on the seafront have gained the backing of hundreds of Westonians since the Mercury launched its Cleaner Coastlines campaign in 2017.

Debbie Apted, of Weston Chamber of Commerce - which was a vital supporter of the Cleaner Coastlines campaign - said: "We were delighted Kiko chose to visit us as part of her Kik Plastic tour and we were able to give her such a warm Weston welcome, especially those who turned up for their first ever beach clean.

"At least 50 of us helped to collect 28kg of waste which won't now be polluting our oceans.

"Thanks too to Surfers Against Sewage for its support with the beach clean."