Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Hosts International Coastal Cleanup

Sept. 25, 2014

~Volunteers collect 53 trash bags filled with waste along protected mangrove shorelines~

Biscayne Bay cleanup

Volunteers collected trash to help clean up Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.

The Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves continues its efforts to keep Biscayne Bay clean through its annual participation in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. Last Saturday, a total of 112 volunteers in 24 groups picked up trash throughout the Pelican Harbor Marina site.

Volunteers from Design and Architecture Senior High, the Girl Scouts and environmentally concerned citizens gathered more than 53 trash bags full of waste along the protected mangrove shorelines of the island. These volunteers gathered more than 122 food wrappers and 100 plastic bags, among other items.

In 92 countries last year, volunteers pledged their time to remove marine trash from shorelines around the world. The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day is the world’s largest same-day shoreline cleanup event, furthering the goal of trash-free seas.

“We know that the bulk of garbage that is collected every year is mostly picnic-related debris,” said Pamela Sweeney, Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves manager. “Last weekend was no different — most of the items collected were food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bags, plates, cups and utensils.”

The Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves staff plan to use this understanding of the waste items to determine where to focus their recycling education methods and to increase public awareness of proper disposal methods and ways to reduce waste. Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves staff conduct outreach events throughout the year to educate the public about the negative effects of debris pollution on the marine ecosystem.

Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves plans to initiate an “Adopt-an-Island” program next year, which will partner local groups with the aquatic preserves to protect a spoil island within Biscayne Bay, combat marine debris build-up through quarterly cleanups and increase awareness of the importance of keeping Biscayne Bay free of debris.

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