Baynanza 2024 with SeaKeepers, Miami Waterkeeper and Miami-Dade County

Miami, Florida
April 13, 2024


On Saturday, April 13, 2024, The International SeaKeepers Society partnered with Miami Waterkeeper and Miami-Dade County to celebrate the 42nd annual Baynanza at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus site. Baynanza is an annual event that began in the 1980s to celebrate Biscayne Bay and raise awareness about its ecological significance by hosting simultaneous coastal cleanups all over the county. Over 89 volunteers met us by the docks at FIU Biscayne Bay Campus where they grabbed reusable bags and gloves, buckets and pickers to help them collect trash. While some decided to stay on land and pick up trash on campus, most grabbed a life preserver and boarded one of the local vessels that volunteered to transport people to nearby picnic islands. Throughout the morning, these vessels shuttled volunteers to and from Sandspur Island, Little Sandspur Island, and the Crescent Islands to spread their cleanup efforts far and wide. These islands are always busy with people and boats on the weekends, which tends to create a huge problem of litter and overflowing trash cans. Our volunteers collected and properly bagged up over 365 pounds of trash from these areas in just 3 hours! By properly disposing of this trash, hundreds of pounds of plastic, glass and aluminum that would have entered the bay have been removed, preventing the death and suffering of marine life and keeping this gem of Miami-Dade County cleaner for people and wildlife to enjoy. Collaborative cleanup efforts like these prove how much we can accomplish when we work together, and we are grateful to Miami Waterkeeper, Miami-Dade County, FIU and all our local vessels for helping to make this day a success.

Outing Goal:

Marine Debris Tracker is a data collection app that allows the general public to contribute to an open-date platform and scientific research by recording the different types of litter, specifically plastic pollution, that they find in either inland or marine environments. Marine Debris Tracker was developed by the University of Georgia’s Jambeck Research Group, which SeaKeepers worked with in 2021 when the Jambeck Research Group collaborated with Ocean Conservancy to assess Miami’s plastic waste management, known as a Circularity Assessment Protocol. SeaKeepers again assisted the Jambeck Research Group’s Circularity Informatics Lab in 2022 with another Circularity Assessment Protocol in the Florida Keys. The researchers of the Jambeck Lab use the Marine Debris Tracker app to record their data, and with citizen scientists also using the app, more data can be collected in different areas. Using Marine Debris Tracker at our cleanups involves community members in creating a bigger picture of plastic pollution, and provides the means for new scientific findings to be generated as well as for effective local legislation to be informed. SeaKeepers is excited to be incorporating this app at our cleanups and continue our mission of coastal education, protection, and restoration. In this cleanup, 5% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.

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