From bottle caps to a Dunkin’ Donuts box and even a bleach bottle, more than 100 volunteers cleaned the beach Sunday morning at South Pointe Park with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
VolunteerCleanup.org, the event’s organizers, worked with Gelber to get local residents and students involved in keeping the beach clean. South Pointe Park, just northeast of Fisher Island, is a popular area among spring breakers.
Volunteers talked about the importance of picking up trash.
“It’s great that people want to have fun, but it sucks that they litter. We just ask that people leave the beach the way they found it when they came,” said Nick Rodriguez, a senior at St. Brendan High School.
High school students received community service hours for volunteering, but several said they have a passion for keeping their local community and environment clean.
“I felt this pier in particular was dirty, so I wanted to help,” said Jose Jimenez, a junior at Hialeah Gardens High School. “I feel like the city is doing a great job cleaning it up, but volunteers can do better.”
Gelber said local communities must work together to keep beaches clean.
“There’s just so much activity that it takes a lot of thoughtful people to keep our city clean,” said Gelber, “but it’s up to our community to clean up our beaches.”
Even though the city has designated workers to pick up beach trash in the early morning, he said it is still vital for the community to get together and remove the micro-plastics: the bottle caps, loose pieces of plastic and other miniscule bits of trash that can be easy to miss.
Miami Beach spends more money to clean up beaches during spring break and the months that follow, compared to other months, said Gelber.
“Miami Beach is a very environmentally safe city, so that’s why it’s so important to try to figure out the best way to keep our beaches clean,” he said.
According to Dara Schoenwald of Miami-Dade Coastal Cleanup, the trash collected will be given to Virgin Voyages, who will create an art installation to be shown at Ultra Music Festival.