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Ways to save Biscayne Bay while celebrating July 4 weekend

Louis Aguirre shares tips to have an environmentally safe celebration out on the Miami waterways this holiday weekend.

The Fourth of July weekend is approaching, which means Biscayne Bay will be packed with boaters and water enthusiasts — and the tons of trash they typically leave behind.

“When you get here by Monday morning, all these small sandbars and all the small beaches along the edge, it will literally look like a trash dump,” paddle instructor Paolo Ameglio says.

For weeks, Local 10 News’ “Don’t Trash Our Treasure” segments have been showing you the problem. Careless boaters and jetskiers are trashing Biscayne Bay’s Spoil Islands, adding to the constant flow of pollution slowly strangling these fragile waters.

“The pressure that it’s starting to feel from everybody who comes here and leaves their trash — it’s starting to kill it,” Ameglio says.

It’s even worse on a holiday weekend, when thousands of boaters hit the water, as was the case on Memorial Day weekend.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“They really just need to understand that they need to bring their trash with them,” says Jeremy Waks.

He’s the co-founder of Debris Free Oceans, a nonprofit with the goal of educating people and cities to become more sustainable. He’s also an avid boater and distressed to see how other boaters treat our waterways.

“It’s upsetting,” Waks says. “People need to load in and load out. They should leave no trace and leave the beach as they found it.”

Waks says we must be part of the solution and need to adopt new habits to be kinder and gentler to our bay and all the wonderful creatures that live here.

“I think people care when it comes down to it, but they just need to be educated that at the end of the day, somebody’s not going to come clean up after them,” he says.

STEPS TO DO YOUR PART:

  • No. 1: Your trash is your responsibility. Pack it in, pack it out. Especially if the garbage cans are overflowing.
  • No. 2: Don’t bring single-use plastics, styrofoam or balloons on your boat. They’ll fly off and end up in the water.
  • No. 3: Reduce, reuse and recycle. Bring a water cooler. Pack up all your cans and recycle them at home.
  • No. 4: Observe no-wake and slow-wake zones. There are lots of manatees and dolphins in these waters, and marine patrol will be out there ticketing you. Also, be careful where you anchor. Avoid corals and seagrass beds.

Finally. be a good neighbor even if those around you aren’t.

“If you see some other trash lying around you, you should pick that up as well and try to be part of the solution,” Waks says.

Remember, if we all work together, we can preserve Biscayne Bay for generations to come.

CLICK HERE for a lot more tips on how to be a more environmentally conscious boater.


About the Author:

Louis Aguirre returned home to Miami and Local 10 in September 2017.