In May three keen environmentalists joined together to start a campaign to raise awareness of plastic pollution in North Cyprus.

Claire Morley, Peter Harrell and Vashti Surya-Harrell created a Facebook group, No Straws North Cyprus click here to try to encourage bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels to take the straw on demand challenge and cut down the number of plastic straws used and then discarded.

‘We decided to concentrate on promoting something where we can get instant results,’ explained Claire ‘Plastic straws are a huge problem in our oceans and as an important turtle breeding ground, we want to raise awareness of the danger of them to the marine life in North Cyprus and encourage people to reduce straw usage.’

Gary Abbott, a friend of Peter and Vashti, heard about the initiative and wanted to offer his support and said.

‘In the past I have been involved in several challenges to raise money for charity,’ explained Gary. ‘I did the first Cape to Cape walk in 2010, then again in 2015, in 2016 approximately 12 of us cycled around Cyprus taking seven days. Last year, as a cycling group, we cycled from Kyrenia to the top of Mount Olympus and back over three days. This year we made the decision not to fundraise, but still do the challenge, then we heard about No Straws.

Gary and his band of walkers, Mark Ryan, Steve Hopkins and Malcolm Cook decided they would like to walk to raise awareness of the plastic problem in North Cyprus. This year they are walking Cape to Cape in October, taking five days to cover the 125 miles.

‘Gary approached Peter and I to discuss promoting our No Straws campaign,’ explained Vashti. ‘And we thought it would be a great opportunity. We’re hoping to be able to join the walkers on part of the journey as they near Karşiyaka.’

The walkers contacted bars asking for contributions towards the costs involved with undertaking the five-day challenge.

‘All the walkers cover their own costs, however we do need a support team to accompany us and the money raised by the participating bars will pay for that,’ explained Mark Ryan.

Five venues signed up to support the cause, each contributing 500TL towards the support costs and the shirts the walkers will be training and walking in: The Roadhouse in Alsancak, The Fly Inn in Lapta, and in Karşiyaka, the Montenegro Bar, Ela Bar at Tolga’s and the Olive Press.

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The walkers can now be seen out training in their new shirts adorned with the logos of the supporting bars, preparing for the start date hoped to be 30 October. They will depart from the Karpaz with stay overs in YeniErenköy and Kaplica. As they get closer to the finish they will spend the last two nights at their homes and will be driven back to the previous day’s finish point.

‘We are really hoping Gary and the walkers will encourage more people to take up the No Straws challenge and for more bars to only offer straws on demand,’ said Peter Harrell. ‘That alone can reduce plastic straw use by up to 90 per cent. But that is just the start, the plastic pollution problem in Cyprus is a huge one and we hope people will start to make significant changes to their plastic use.’

Gary and the walkers can be tracked by anyone interested in their progress by sending an email to taff44@gmail.com