Wales

UK beach clean cyclist arrives in Criccieth

Kiko Matthews Image copyright Kiko Matthews
Image caption Kiko Matthews, pictured in Aberystwyth, is cycling around the UK's coast

A woman cycling 7,200km (4,474 miles) around the UK to tidy up its beaches will stop in Criccieth, Gwynedd on Saturday.

Kiko Matthews, 38, began her challenge in Kent, and has been inviting people to take part in the cleans.

Her first Welsh beach was Penarth, with 10 more stops planned before and she reaches Prestatyn and crosses the English border.

She said: "It's addictive, it's like an Easter egg hunt for plastic."

Ms Matthews said she has seen very few plastic bottles, and believes it is due to lots of people collecting waste from shorelines.

But she added there is "so much small stuff" like ear buds and little pieces of plastic.

The most unusual things found during the scavenges include underwear and plastic fish, with the latter described by Ms Matthews as "ironic".

She said the number of people helping with the cleans "really varies", but so far their best turnout in Wales has been at Shell Island, Llanbedr in Gwynedd.

Tenby's mayor, Sue Lane, also came to help with her town's session.

The tour began in Margate on 5 May, and ends in London on 28 July, with about 450kg collected so far.

The plastics are often too degraded to be recycled, so are sent to landfill, but Ms Matthews is sending some boxes of the rubbish to a company in London to investigate if anything else can be done with it.

She gave herself the challenge after she broke the female transatlantic solo rowing record last year.

Image copyright Kiko Matthews
Image caption A beach clean in Tenby

She raised £100,000 for London's King's College Hospital, where she received life-saving treatment for a pituitary tumour.

She was training for the row when she discovered the growth had returned.

"The most important thing at that point in time was the row and getting it done", Ms Matthews explained.

Her latest goal to tidy the UK's beaches was considered by Ms Matthews for a while, as she previously ran a paddleboard company, collecting rubbish from London's waterways.

She said: "I wanted to do something that everyone could be part of."

Once the tour is finished, Ms Matthews said she hopes "people take something from it... I'll probably be ready for a holiday as well!"

Image caption Ms Matthews on one of her beach cleans at Bude, Cornwall

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