The captain of a mega yacht has set-up a beach clean programme to remove plastic bottles and other rubbish from the shore.

Captain Antoniou Leontios, who operates Variety Cruises’ 49-passenger vessel Panorama II, is dedicating a few hours each week to cleaning beaches with the help of crew and passengers.

All collected rubbish is then properly disposed of at the next port of call by Panorama II’s crew.

Captain Leontios said: “The sea and the natural beauty of beaches and islands is the livelihood for myself and the crew. We need to respect and protect them.

“[The beach clean] has now become a feature of our week.”

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He added that the crew were going to get t-shirts made to promote the beach cleans to encourage passersby to get involved.

Chris Lorenzo, the managing director of the line’s general sales agent Seafarer Holidays, said: “We have already started eliminating single-use plastic from our fleet.

“As for the beach clean-up programme, our vessels are uniquely placed to do something practical. We only have small ships of 50 to 70 passengers so we can get close up to the beaches and moor anywhere.

“Overall our philosophy is ‘small is beautiful’ and that’s not just about size of our ships but about doing the small things that can add up to a big difference.”