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A right royal beach cleanup

Queen Sofía took part in the La Cala del Moral beach cleanup on Saturday.
Queen Sofía took part in the La Cala del Moral beach cleanup on Saturday. / SUR
  • Queen Sofía joined volunteers in Rincón de la Victoria for the event organised by the Ecoembes foundation

Queen Sofía, the mother of Spain's King Felipe, spent 30 minutes picking up rubbish on one of Rincón de la Victoria's beaches last Saturday, as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day.

The 81-year-old royal took part in the event at the beach next to El Cantal cliffs in La Cala del Moral along with around 30 volunteers through the Ecoembes foundation.

She collected rubbish from a 300-metre stretch of the beach wearing gloves and a face mask.

The initial plan was to keep the queen's visit private and not invite the media. However, a last minute change of plan on Friday led to a press release and around 100 journalists and onlookers turning up to photograph the royal in action.

Tight security, with members of the royal family's own team as well as police officers, meant that Sofía was restricted to a small section of the beach, where fans gathered in the hope of catching sight of her. Shouts of 'Long live the Queen!', 'Viva España!' and 'Guapa!' could be heard as the queen walked along the beach.

Mi Moana volunteers sent out a clear message on Saturday.

Mi Moana volunteers sent out a clear message on Saturday. / Mi Moana

By the end of the morning, Queen Sofía, along with the other volunteers, had collected 25 kilos of rubbish, including plastics, cigarette butts, drinks cans and masks.

An example to others

Nieves Rey, a volunteer with the Ecoembes foundation that the queen supports said this was the fourth year that the royal had participated in International Coastal Cleanup Day.

"The queen wants to be part of the solution and helps through the foundation. She wants to set an example and raise awareness," she said.

Rincón de la Victoria mayor, Francisco Salado, offered the town's "profound gratitude" to the queen for her visit to the town. The last time she visited Rincón was in 1972 when she was a princess.

Other coastal cleanups also took place on Saturday in Gibraltar and Cabopino in Marbella.

Volunteers at Cabopino beach in Marbella last Saturday.

Volunteers at Cabopino beach in Marbella last Saturday. / C. Webb

Mi Moana and Diving with Nic organised the Gibraltar cleanup after having to abandon the original plan to clean a shipwreck off the coast of San Pedro where diving conditions were deemed too dangerous. Instead the team worked with Gibraltar's Environment Safety Group, coordinated by Janet Howitt.

Natasha Wegloop, founder of Mi Moana said that the team collected bottles, fishing lines and an assortment of plastics during the event. Their next cleanup will be on 17 October in Fuengirola.

More than 80 volunteers collected over 80 kilos of waste during the Plastic Free Seas Worldwide cleanup at Cabopino in Marbella. Founder Craig Webb said, "Our team is committed to keeping the Costa del Sol clean and free from plastic waste." The next event is on 17 October at Laguna beach.