volunteer blog

Thank you Volunteers! International Coastal Cleanup 2021

Everyone at Miami Waterkeeper would like to thank our volunteers and community that came to support us at the International Coastal Cleanup at Matheson Hammock Park. We had the most successful year yet with 154 volunteers that showed up to help pick up trash in the delicate ecosystems that make up the park. This year was extremely special for us, as we were able to honor long-time supporter Benjamin Joannou, Jr. and his family. Volunteers worked together to collect over 469 lbs of trash from various areas in the park and some unique items found include a sleeping bag and a mattress! VolunteerCleanup.org organizes Miami-Dade County's local participation in this global event and this year volunteers from all over the county removed a total of 17,771 lbs of trash from our local shorelines. 

This year's Junior Ambassadors also came to the event to assist us with checking volunteers in, providing supplies, and weighing trash. This event could not have happened without these future community leaders!

Marine Debris is a very serious problem that Miami Waterkeeper works every day to combat. There is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, this is more than stars in the galaxy! At our current rate, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Some of the most common items are straws, plastic bottles, styrofoam, and cigarette butts. All this plastic impacts marine life and us. As fish consume these plastics, we consume the fish and therefore the plastic within their body as well. How did all this trash get into our oceans and waterways? 80% of marine debris is land-based! That means that it originated on land and found its way into our oceans and waterways. No matter where you live, you are connected to the ocean. This is especially true here in South Florida, thanks to our vast amounts of canals and storm drains. A piece of trash in Kendall can make its way to Biscayne Bay.

So what can we do to help? Dispose of your trash properly, refuse single-use plastic, the less we consume the less waste there is, and most importantly be an activist and advocate. Education is key to end our marine debris disaster.

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