Just as electronic recycling exists to remind us of the importance of e-waste management, there is also a date for beach cleanups. International Coastal Cleanup Day was recently celebrated as a date to remember the importance of taking care of our natural spaces. Several cities around the world held activities to celebrate this day by collecting waste in coastal areas. South Florida joined this initiative this past weekend to remove tons of trash and debris from its waterways and oceans. The cleanup was a great success.
The Ocean Conservancy was the non-profit organization behind this activity. The mission was launched 36 years ago and they have been working for the conservation of coasts and oceans not only in our country, since their work involves 160 countries. Today their work is much more important and urgent than ever. For this reason, on this International Coastal Cleanup Day they worked in South Florida.
JP Brooker, the Florida Conservation Director for Ocean Conservancy, said the group has grown tremendously, which means the impact of this initiative will be important in the future. “I’ve been with Ocean Conservancy for eight years, and in those eight years I’ve seen more turnout, more care, more passion about Florida’s ocean and coasts.”
Shared efforts in favor of Florida’s coastline
In Miami-Dade County, 50 cleanup days were held with more than 3,000 volunteers. The event ranged from Elliott Key and Biscayne Bay National Park to Oleta State Park in North Miami Beach. The coastal cleanup collected 17,771 pounds of debris. Also, in Broward County, Sun of a Beach Cleanup and Surfrider Foundation were on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. They were joined by Trashy Girls Collective and Parrot Lounge. Several entities are beginning to participate in cleanup days.
Volunteers also participated on Virginia Key, where 200 pounds of trash was collected. This day was conducted by Debris Free Oceans in conjunction with Clean Miami Beach, both organizations committed to cleaning up the beaches. The 77 volunteers who participated walked the shoreline behind the Eden Roc Hotel. Sophie Ringel, Clean Miami Beach founder, called on residents and tourists to contribute to the cleanup. “Miami, we need to stop littering!”
Also present on International Coastal Cleanup Day was radio station Revolution 93.5. The radio station teamed up with Clean This Beach Up to clean up the MacArthur Causeway. “Today with 126 volunteers we were able to remove almost 1,400 pounds of marine debris from our shoreline. What a great way to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day,” said Clean This Beach Up founder MJ Algarra to Florida Insider.
It is time to raise awareness
Unfortunately, these dirty spaces on the Florida coast are a problem due to a lack of respect and awareness for the environment. After these cleanup efforts, it was learned that 80% of the trash found in Miami’s oceans and bays comes from land-based sources. The Ocean Conservancy highlighted the top five items collected: cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers, water and soft drink bottles, and plastic bags.
The people who participated in these cleanup days wonder why there is so much garbage in these natural sites. “It’s hard to understand why someone would leave plastic or any other kind of garbage on the beach”, said Adam Blalock, Undersecretary for Ecosystem Restoration, State Department of Environmental Protection. It is necessary to promote awareness of cleanliness and its important role in environmental conservation. Today this is a task that must be worked on with all residents and tourists.
One of the visible consequences of coastal pollution is the loss of manatees. This year alone, an unprecedented 937 manatees have been lost. These animals are starving as their food source, seagrass, is beginning to be depleted by pollution. The consequences could still be worse, but more and more people are understanding the effects of climate change and helping to curb them.
“You see the problem and it’s never-ending. But then you have events like this and you realize that there are so many good humans out in the world who do care and want to make a difference,” said Dave Doubler of VolunteerCleanup.Org. Although these cleanup days were notable on International Coastal Cleanup Day, the activities are held every weekend in Florida. Click here for more information about the list of the many organizations that hold them.
At eSmart Recycling we join the e-waste management efforts in Tampa Bay and Orlando. We recycle computers and use the funds to donate computer labs to poor children in our community and in emerging countries. We remain committed to environmental efforts. You can contact us so we can handle your unused laptops and computers.