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Israelis seek to break record for biggest single-day beach clean-up

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Tel Aviv (AFP)

Thousands of Israeli volunteers hit the coast on Friday in a bid to break the world record for the largest beach clean-up in a single day.

Organisers hoped to mobilise more than 20,000 volunteers and beat the US record of 16,000 for such a clean-up, Michael Raphael, who was responsible for the initiative, told AFP.

Some 20 Israeli associations set up dozens of tents along the Mediterranean country's coastline and at the Sea of Galilee for the day-long event.

"Record or not, the main goal is to raise awareness -- for people to reflect and get involved," said Ephy Shapiro, a Tel Aviv resident and a member of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

"Against pollution, collective action is always more powerful," he told AFP at one of the tents, where he was handing volunteers bags reading "Do not litter!" in Hebrew.

Yaniv Sharabi and his young daughter were among those scouring the palm-lined beach in Tel Aviv for everything from bottles and bags to disposable personal protective equipment like face masks.

"Adults must set an example for children," said Sharabi, adding that he had decided to take part after seeing signs near the beach.

A World Wildlife Fund report last year said Tel Aviv's coastline was the third-worst in the Mediterranean for plastic pollution, behind Turkey's Cilicia region and Barcelona in Spain.

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