Plastic pollution: Cycle-challenge woman 'speechless' at beach waste

Kiko Matthews picking up litter on a beach Image copyright Kik-Plastic
Image caption Kiko Matthews has done more than 70 beach cleans around the UK with volunteers

A woman says she has collected more than 3.4 tonnes (3,400kg) of plastic pollution from the UK coastline during an 85-day cycle challenge.

Kiko Matthews, 38, who rode 6,863km (4,265 miles) around the UK coastline during her Kik-Plastic tour, said she was "speechless" by the amount.

She added this "was only scratching the surface" of what was "out there".

Starting in Margate, the brain-tumour survivor cycled the coastline cleaning beaches along the way.

Ms Matthews' team said she spent 316 hours cycling and did 79 beach-cleans with the help of 1,960 volunteers.

"The hills, wind and rainy days have been worth it", she said, adding that the "biggest surprise" was the amount of pollution generated by the fishing industry, particularly on one beach in west Scotland.

Image copyright Kik-Plastic
Image caption Waste on the shoreline in Scourie, Scotland

Discarded items found included ropes, nets, plastic containers and cable ties from fish farms as far away as Canada.

"I was speechless at the sight and believe everyone should be made more aware of the issue," Ms Matthews said.

Image copyright Kik-Plastic
Image caption The rubbish collected on Criccieth Beach in Wales

However, she added that while she was "sad to see the scale of waste and ocean pollution that exists", she was also "amazed" at the work being done to tackle the problem.

Image caption Groups who helped Ms Matthews included Bude Rubbish Action Group, Cleaner Seas Project, Friends of the Earth and Greener Bude

Ms Matthews, who finished her challenge on Sunday, said she would miss the "daily purpose" of beach cleaning and cycling, but admitted some international environmental charities had been in touch regarding new ideas for future challenges.

The aim of the Kik-plastic tour was to work with volunteers across the UK and collect waste from the beach which was measured along the way.

Image copyright Kik-Plastic
Image caption Kiko Matthews finished her Kik-Plastic tour in London on Sunday

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