Man's romantic 'message in a bottle' stunt prompts littering concerns

By Daniel Uria   |   July 27, 2017 at 11:11 AM
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July 27 (UPI) -- A man in England's plan to find romance by casting thousands of bottles into the ocean has people in the area concerned about the impact on the environment.

Craig Sullivan, 49, said the Police song "Message in a Bottle" inspired him to cast 2,000 bottles into the ocean in hopes of reaching beaches around the world to find love after his wife died of cancer about a year and a half ago.

"If I could find some good places to throw some bottles, they might wash up on your shore. You might open one and read a message. What would it say?" Sullivan wrote in a post directed to anyone who might come across his message in a bottle. "So - armed with maps, tidal tables, a motorhome, 4G data, provisions and a week driving around the U.K. - I might just be able to send them to beaches across the world!"

Sullivan's goodnatured attempt at romance eventually hit a snag, as dozens of his bottles washed back up on Rhossili beach where Helen Gill found them during a walk with friends.

"I went for a beach walk and we came across about 30 glass bottles with lids," Gill said. "They had lots of messages inside about finding love and at first, I thought it was some sort of dating thing but then I looked on his website and I got the idea. It's very romantic, but my friends are members of the Marine Conservation Society and they, and I, were very concerned about what it is doing to the environment."

Gill sent Sullivan an email warning that, while his stunt is "very romantic," beachgoers and wildlife may be in danger of stepping on broken glass if the bottles smash before reaching the shore.

"I hope he does find someone and finds them in a way that is more environmentally friendly," Gill said.

Sullivan also received messages from people who objected to him releasing his bottles near salmon breeding grounds and was forced to abandon the remainder of his journey.

"There has been a rather unpleasant backlash to my intentions, which were always not to achieve this sort of reaction," Sullivan said. "It's been quite saddening but it won't affect my optimism or plans - to find someone new."

While Sullivan wasn't able to fully execute his plan, he said he did receive a few messages from women interested in meeting him.

"As it happens I've been contacted by a lady in Ireland and one from the west coast of Scotland and I've got a couple of dates arranged," he said. "So some good has come out of it."

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