The man travels the entire Welsh coast and cleans every beach he sees
A man takes on a huge challenge by traveling 700 miles around the Welsh coast and picking up rubbish and rubbish on every beach he stops at because of his love for Wales and the ‘absolutely disgusting’ state ” of some of the most beautiful sites in the country.
Geraint John, 51, from Maesteg, is currently in Llangrannog in Ceredigion on his final stop along the coast with nothing but a tent, essential supplies and bin bags to fill during his journey trip, which is expected to last all summer. The epic journey began on April 13 in Mumbles, Swansea, and Geraint has been steadily heading along the west coast of Wales since then.
The section east of Swansea, between Port Talbot and the Severn Bridge, frankly has too much rubbish for one man to pick up, according to Geraint, so his plan now that he has crossed Pembrokeshire and arrived at Ceredigion is to continue heading north, around Anglesey and across to Rhyl. To get the latestWalesOnline newsletters sent directly to you by e-mail for free, click here.
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The aim of the walk is to raise awareness and funds that will help clean up Welsh beaches and try to remedy a problem that Geraint says is only getting worse. “I have always loved sailing and scuba diving, and last year I sailed six and a half miles around the British coast for charity,” said Geraint, who managed to find shelter from the rain to talk about his trip.
“But what really stuck in my mind was the amount of litter I saw washed up on the coastline, so I started a non-profit company called Coastline Guardians CIC to try to solve If I can do the Welsh coastline once on foot this summer, I hope I can raise enough money to do it more often in the future.
“Some places see so much litter it’s absolutely disgusting, most things coming offshore. Some places are so far away I can fill three or four bags of litter but I have nowhere to dispose of it, while other places are not within walking distance, but of course the trash doesn’t care where it goes.
At accessible beaches, Geraint collects sacks and bags of rubbish – plastic, general rubbish, fishing gear – and dumps them in parking lots that have designated bins or recycling facilities, after watching to see if he can trace where he came from. While making the journey alone, he has met friends along the way and others who share his passion for cleaning up the Welsh coast.
“The more people I meet, the better; there’s no rush there, I don’t really have an ‘end date’ in mind,” he said. The people are great and the places are all beautiful.
Some places, however, may become less beautiful due to the amount of trash that tends to pile up in different places, as Geraint explains. “I spent five days at Worm’s Head in Rhossili Bay. I found a dead cow and filled about 26 bags of rubbish. Right now it’s shocking in places and it’s a big environmental problem. What you see, with the smaller beaches, the communities are doing a lot to clean up, but of course every tide brings more litter.”
For Geraint, who set up Coastline Guardians CIC, the plan is to regularly clean Welsh beaches using funds raised through public donations. You can help fund his goal of a cleaner, better Welsh coastline here.
“Even in the winter you can still have good days where you can go out and clean up,” he said. “The plan is to be able to go out and do big cleanups five or six times a year around the coastline. I’m hoping to raise £50,000 which will help pay for this, including a sailboat and a small inflatable boat which will make accessible the places where you can’t walk to it.
“I want there to be an educational side to it as well. I want this out in schools because it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse, so I’m hoping to work with schools by getting children’s books published on the problem, and work with universities too. I can’t rely on grants and donations forever, so I have plans on how I can keep doing this for the long term. I love Wales and our coastline is absolutely spectacular.”
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