This summer, an interesting trend has emerged on my Instagram feed. Every day, I’m confronted with images of rubbish on beaches and clogging up waterways. Yet it’s not as bleak as it sounds – scores of volunteers up and down the country have been sweeping the shores and cleaning up tonne bags of trash.
Kiko Matthews is on a mission to engage communities around the UK to tackle the problems caused by single-use plastic. Her ‘Kik Plastic’ campaign is an ambitious one with 78 beach cleans scheduled. To make the challenge more difficult, she is cycling the whole way round and is set to total 7,200km by the end of her eco-awareness tour.
Kicking it all off in Margate on 5th May 2019, she has steadily travelled northwards come rain or shine, attracting well over a thousand volunteers to help clean our beaches. While collecting, they have retrieved ghost nets, polystyrene, engine parts, rubber tubing, discarded cans and crisp packets.
In Malin Head, Ireland, she even stumbled across a washed up Minke whale. Kiko suspects that like many oceanic species inhabiting our waters, the baby whale may have ingested plastic at its peril. Highlighting the impact that sea pollution is making is an important part of the journey, along with promoting community spirit and what can be achieved when we come together.
She’s currently in Scotland, so find out where you can join her as she works her way back down the east coast over the next month. Among other locations, she’ll be hitting John o’ Groats on 6th July, Skegness on 21st July, Aldeburgh on 25th July, before finishing up in London on 28th July.
Throughout her efforts, volunteers have been turning up at beaches to help comb the shoreline. Although lots of assistants have turned up at various places, there has been a noticeable shortage from some demographics. So if you’re a guy, or aged between 14-30 years old, go along to represent and help fill some bags!
You can follow Kiko’s journey on Instagram and cheer her on as she continues her battle against beach litter. Even better, get inspired and lead your own beach clean to start making a difference!