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Miami Beach mayor, commissioner push to end Floatopia after attendees leave beach trashed

Commission to discuss Floatopia at next meeting

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The thought of trash lining the shores of Miami Beach doesn't set well with Commissioner Michael Grieco. 

The commissioner tweeted out “SMH,” which stands for shaking my head, Sunday morning, and then posted photos to Facebook of floats, plastic bottles, bottles and other items left behind by beachgoers Floatopia Miami, which took place Saturday.

"I have found volunteers out here crying," Grieco said in a  Facebook video posted Saturday as crews worked to clean the beach. "This is an absolute travesty. And this is me making a commitment to everyone that is going to watch this, Floatopia will never happen in Miami Beach again. Mark my words, you'll see what happens at the next commission meeting."

Floatopia is an annual beach party in which people hit the ocean in their rafts, and hang out on the sand. The organization promotes it as a laid-back, good time.

And yes, Floatopia organizers did remind beachgoers to pick up their mess with several social media posts leading up to the event. They even encouraged people to volunteer to clean the beach after the event.

"All that we ask of our event goers is that they CLEAN UP after themselves," Floatopia's Facebook page said. "We are extremely lucky to have these beautiful beaches at our doorstep and can’t destroy the very thing we came to enjoy. So please do your part!"

Floatopia Miami organizers took to Facebook on Sunday to express their concern about the trash left behind, saying that to "protect the beach is the only thing we ever ask."

"The level of disrespect shown on our beach yesterday was unimaginable," a Floatopia Facebook post said. "Thank you to everyone who cleanup after themselves, but unfortunately, this time, you were the minority. We refuse to be associated with this kind of behavior and much less will we facilitate an event that hurts a city and beach that we love."

In a Facebook video, Grieco said his  "faith in humanity (has) gone down" after seeing the trash left by Floatopia's  thousands of attendees. 

Grieco then called Floatopia a  "social media-driven disaster for the environment and quality of life on Miami Beach," in a Facebook post, adding that Miami Beach had set up donation tents for reusable floats to be donated to children, and that there are recycle binds throughout the beach.

"The original purpose of the event was a positive, community vibe, albeit an unsanctioned event that we worked around," Grieco wrote.

Others on the Miami Beach Commission agree with Grieco's plead to end the beach event. 

By Sunday afternoon, Mayor Philip Levine had posted a photo of Floatopia to Facebook with the words "Never Forget" written in white. 

"The disruption to our beaches, residents and visitors caused by Floatopia will NOT be tolerated," Levine wrote. "Per the note below, although this is NOT a city sanctioned event, I have already spoken to our City Manager Jimmy Morales and I plan to bring this up at our next commission meeting to approve a plan which would STOP this event from happen on our beaches going forward." 

Levine also posted an email from Morales regarding the event.

"This event has taken on a size and dimension that is simply too large and disruptive, and has a very adverse impact on our quality of life, public safety and natural resources," Morales wrote in the email. 

This isn’t the first time the beach has been littered with trash.

Last month spring breakers left piles of trash along South Beach, leaving bottles of alcohol, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and other items along the beach and sand.

"I don't know how 100,000 people can come out to my beach and just not take what they brought with them," Grieco told Local 10 News.

Now he's on a quest to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

"I have no interest in fixing this event," Grieco said. "My only interest is ending it."

Posted by State Representative Michael Grieco on Saturday, April 16, 2016