A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beach cleanup removes tons of garbage from South Florida beaches

Published on CBS News by David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel

 WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories - Beach cleanup removes tons of garbage from South Florida beaches
Volunteers also collect all the caps that are found all over the beach and donate them to the non-profit Caps of Love that takes them. (Lourdes Ferris / Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful / May 21, 2014)

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- A car door, a mailbox and a set of plastic vampire teeth were among the items picked up off Palm Beach County beaches as part of a worldwide event to clean coastlines and waterways.

A total of 17,431 pounds trash were collected in Palm Beach County during the International Coastal Cleanup, an annual event run last summer and fall by the Ocean Conservancy, according to a tally made public Wednesday.

The most common items were cigarette butts, with 11,463 collected, followed by bottle caps, food wrappers, straws, bottles and plastic bags.

Also collected were 118 condoms, 28 diapers, 82 syringes and 138 tampons or tampon applicators.

A total of 3,240 volunteers walked beaches from Boca Raton to Jupiter and cleaned up many inland areas as well.

"We take the position that anyplace in Palm Beach County where there is litter it could get to the beach, carried by wind and rain," said Lourdes Ferris, director of Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, who coordinated the event. "Everything empties out into some body of water."

Nicholas Mallos, a conservation biologist and marine debris specialist for the Ocean Conservancy, said the 12 million pounds of junk picked up worldwide this year reflected the same mix seen in prior years.

"Unfortunately year after year the same items are on our top 10 lists - disposable food and beverage packaging, cigarettes, plastic forks and knives," he said. "We are overwhelmingly concerned about the presence of plastic, as well as fishing nets and ropes."

A total of 6,847 pounds trash were collected in Broward County and 12,456 in Miami-Dade County, with the list of most common items similar to those found in Palm Beach.

In Broward County, unusual items included a blonde wig and a pair of scissors. In Miami-Dade County, they include a refrigerator, a Bible, more plastic vampire teeth, an urn and a voodoo doll in a jar.

The Ocean Conservancy said further study is needed to find ways to stop trash at its source.

"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy's president and CEO, on Wednesday. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem - perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

The next cleanup will take place Sept. 20.

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