Sweaters and swimsuits: Beach cleanup at Biscayne campus

The student government at Florida International Unversity’s Biscayne Bay campus held a beach cleanup Saturday, attracting around 30 people to pick up trash, remove weeds and plant produce.

At 8:30 a.m., people slowly began to trickle in, ranging in age. Many wore sweaters, hats and other outdoor gear. Some also wore swimsuits to pick up trash via kayak.

“We got the word out more this time. I sent it [the promotion flyer] to group chats, everyone else just spread it, which is awesome,” said freshman Coral Murray, who oversaw the event for SGA.

Bins were filled with gardening gloves, tools and trash bags. In addition, snacks were set out for volunteers as well as a light-yellow shirts with the event’s name on it.

“This campus is being cleaned almost every single day from the janitors and crew, yet when we go out, there is still so much trash,” said Murray. “Sometimes we come back with three or four trash bags and they just cleaned.”

Maintenance workers, professors and people with knowledge of the environment talked about what to watch out for and what not to touch.

In particular, they spoke how red mangroves help stabilize the coastline, providing a habitat for fish and other marine life. Volunteers also collected mangrove propagules, the seeds.

“We’ll take those and start growing them [the seeds] separately, so if something happens to them [the mangroves], we just plant them” said Murray.

First-time volunteer Ailyn Gonzalez, who there to complete a class requirement, said she was intrigued by what she learned.

“A fact that stood out was it would be predicted that by 2050, there would be more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Gonzalez. She said she heard about the event through her professors.

Gonzalez said she believes we need to help nature by picking up ourselves. She said she was shocked at the amount of garbage floating around.

“There are a lot of selfish people who don’t think that throwing away their trash on the floor is going to make a big impact,” she said.

People removed trash, balloon strings, wine corks, deodorant caps and rope.

“The ocean, since it makes up so much of our world, I think we have to save it,” said Murray.

Bailey Alfaro is a senior studying broadcast journalism and pursuing a minor in film. Her experience extends from editing to managing cameras during productions and using the quill of her own pen to capture the stories of the community.