You can’t go to the beach, but the water sure is clean

Among the misfortunes that the novel coronavirus has caused, such as the disruption of education and a recession, at least one positive result has emerged. While humans have largely been quarantined indoors, nature has started to rebound.

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez closed beaches on March 18. This was followed by boat ramps and marinas several days later. The resulting drop in traffic on beaches and waterways has led to a visible improvement in water quality.

Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, said that although her group has been unable to conduct regular water sampling, she’s heard stories about the water looking impressively transparent. “We’ve been hearing reports from folks that are lucky enough to have water views, that they see really clear, beautiful water that is also very quiet because of the lack of boat traffic,” she said. 

Miami Waterkeeper is a local, non-profit organization focused on clean water in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. It uses a combination of outreach, education, scientific research and advocacy to protect the water.

The Surfrider Foundation, another environmental group, has made similar findings, WPLG Channel 10 rereported.   

In addition to reduced pollution and littering, Silverstein noted that a lack of rain has also benefited South Florida’s waters. Less rain means less runoff entering stormwater drains and eventually making its way to the ocean. 

Giving nature a break has been eye-opening and shows how quickly it can recover if appropriate measures are taken. Sightings of rare wildlife have been reported and empty beaches could lead to a more productive nesting season for sea turtles

“I think there are a couple of lessons and one is that with a lot of people at home seeing rare wildlife at their windows and looking out at the waterways, people can be more observant of what’s going on around them and realize that they are far more connected,” said Silverstein.

While some beaches in north Florida are now open, such as Duval County in Jacksonville, nothing has been confirmed for Miami-Dade County. 

“I’ve seen a lot of buzz on social media from people who think that beaches in Miami-Dade County are opening up.  said Mayor Gimenez on Twitter.”That is not that case,”

Mariana Vargas is a senior at FIU majoring in journalism. She was born in Bogota, Colombia but grew up in Miami. Her passion for writing led her to journalism. She strives to write stories that bring awareness to special causes and inspire others. She hopes to one day travel the world, writing stories of the different people she encounters.