Man, three dogs on coast cleanup mission
Graunke hopes this will inspire other South Africans to get involved
Planning to travel over 2,700km along the South African coastline, Johannesburg-born Stefan Graunke and his three dogs are taking on the mammoth task of cleaning up more than 50 beaches.
Launching the Coastal Ghost Clean Up Project recently, Graunke, 26, and his three red border collies Altair, Ksora and Zephyr, will start their journey on February 21 in Richard’s Bay on the east coast.
He estimates he will be in East London in March.
“I recently got back from travelling around Europe with my dogs and during my time there I noticed how little wildlife is left in Europe. I started to miss the amazing wildlife and nature in South Africa and I realised that we have to protect and look after what we have here,” said Graunke, who left SA with his then two dogs in 2016.
“I survived in Europe with my two dogs on very little money. We just backpacked and stayed with families who would host us. I actually got my third dog in Rome.”
Travelling in an old Land Rover, armed with rubbish bags and a love of nature, Graunke’s next venture will see him and his three collies spend their days on SA’s beaches, picking up litter and leaving only footprints and pawprints behind.
“We’ll be moving slowly across the beaches, picking up all the trash and plastic we find. It will be as if a ghost swept through and left only nature behind,” said Graunke.
While this eco mission started out as a personal endeavour to give back to nature, Graunke hopes it may inspire other South Africans to become involved and join him on this massive cleanup of the country’s beaches.
“I wanted to do something to make a difference and I’d much rather spend my time and money making a change in this world because it’s the only one we have,” said Graunke.
“My dream would be to clean up every beach along the coastline, but more than that I hope to link up with fellow South Africans, no matter their age, race, language or accent, and accomplish something great together.”
Self funding this trip, Graunke and his dogs are relying on the hospitality and generosity of friends, family and strangers they meet along the way.
The trip will end at Port Nolloth on the west coast, but Graunke has already received an outpouring of support with requests to add more cities and towns to their itinerary.
“Right now, all I can do is estimate where we’ll be and when. I planned on ending the trip in April but I think I might go on longer now. In the last few days it’s just blown up and so many people have offered to host us and asked us to stop over in their towns,” said Graunke, who has received tyre, fuel and rubbish bag sponsorships from a number of companies and supporters.
“My aim is to clean up the beaches on a large scale so the more hands, the better. I really hope to see a lot of people join me along the way.”
To support and follow Graunke’s journey, visit the Coastal Ghost Facebook page...