MIAMI – Some 200 volunteers picked up 525 pounds of trash on Friday off the Biscayne Bay shoreline.
It was one of the many cleanups in South Florida to mark Earth Day, a worldwide annual event that has been promoting environmental protection since 1970.
“Love our bay! It’s our blue heart,” said Irela Bagué, Miami-Dade County’s first chief bay officer, adding, “Just stop using single-use plastics. We need to enjoy our environment and leave no trace.”
The team, led by Miami-Dade Police Department Interim Director George A. Perez, worked for about an hour on the southern side of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which connects Miami and Miami Beach.
“We will enforce these laws but we want to make sure that we’re also part of cleaning up our community as well,” Perez said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to pair up, bring our resources to the table, and do our part to make sure we clean up our bay.”
Most of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources. The most common types of single-use plastic are bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, and water bottles. There were also plenty of soda cans. The canals flowing through Miami-Dade are capable of moving trash to Biscayne Bay.
“We have a huge, huge problem,” said Lt. Ernesto Rodriguez, of the department’s illegal dumping unit.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava gave a pep talk to the group of police explorers who volunteered. Jayla Fleming, a proud police explorer, listened and got to work.
“Our Earth is worse than I thought it was. I didn’t know we had that much stuff out here, but at least we’re picking it up now,” Jayla said.
This Earth Day marked the first anniversary of Don’t Trash Our Treasure, a Local 10 News initiative to raise awareness about the pollution in Biscayne Bay.
For more information about how to join the cleanup efforts, visit VolunteerCleanup’s page. The nonprofit organization connects volunteers with event organizers.
Here is a list of plastic-free alternatives
- Rely on reusable glass and stainless steel.
- Use palm leaf or bamboo pulp plates, stirrers, and utensils.
- Avoid balloons to decorate at parties. Use paper lanterns, recycled bunting, DIY bubble blowers, or flowers.
- Use bamboo cotton buds, organic cotton makeup pads, or reusable silicon swabs.
- Reusable shopping bags.
- Share more tips in the comments section.
A look at global data