Son, mom traversing SA coastline to clean it up


Taking on the largest beach clean-up in SA and already travelling more than 850km along the country’s coastline, Johannesburg-born Stefan Grunke, his three dogs and his mom, Val, of the Coastal Ghost project are in the Eastern Cape this week.
The team started out in Morgan’s Bay, made their way along the Wild Coast and reached our shores on March 21.
“It’s been a hectic journey and we’ve really enjoyed the Eastern Cape so far,” said Stefan, 26.
“Haga Haga was probably the best beach we’ve been on.
“There was almost no litter and Morgan’s Bay wasn’t too bad either.
“Sunrise-on-Sea was probably the worst we’ve seen. We did Kwelera and Sunrise this morning and we managed to fill about five big blue bags with garbage.”
Stefan said plastic items were by far the most abundant and that beaches near bigger cities were the worst affected.
Welcomed by rain and miserable weather in East London on Tuesday, the team were unable to do a clean-up and set off towards Port Alfred on Wednesday.
They plan to make it to the Western Cape’s Port Nolloth by the end of the month.
Setting off in February, the team have had a whirlwind journey and had to return home for two weeks in March after the Coastal Ghost Land Rover broke down during their travels in KwaZulu-Natal.
Val said the hosts along the way had been amazing, but that they were disappointed by the lack of local support during the beach clean-ups.
“We haven’t had many people come and join us during the clean-ups.
“Many walk along the beach and come and ask us what we’re doing, but when we tell them they just walk away,” said Val.
“Other than that, this trip has been amazing.”
Despite the hiccups along the way and only seeing 60 locals come out to assist the beach clean-ups so far, the team have managed to collect more than 100 industrial-sized bags of garbage from 40 beaches along the coastline.
“We always seem to be in towns on the wrong days and people can’t make it.
“A few people have just organised their own clean-ups in honour of Coastal Ghost after we’ve left and that’s what we want more of.”
Stefan plans to start an environmental activist organisation and set up Coastal Ghost Warrior stations throughout SA after ending the 2,780km trip.
“I’m not doing this to make the beaches more pleasant for people.
“I’m doing this to create awareness and to try and save our oceans.”..

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