Fort Lauderdale Beach Cleanup with Meridian
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
September 9, 2023
On Saturday, September 9th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society co-hosted a beach cleanup at Fort Lauderdale beach with media partner Meridian, a global meeting room for the maritime industry employers and crew that utilizes innovative software to help recruit and interview crew and find prospective yacht crew hiring opportunities. A total of 18 volunteers came by to participate in yoga by the beach and this coastal cleanup. Volunteers worked hard to remove 15 lbs of trash and covered over a mile of shoreline which speaks well to the state of debris in Fort Lauderdale beach. Among the items collected, bottle caps, cigarette buts, and plastic fragments were the most common. The size of these pieces of debris makes them particularly harmful to marine mammals, fish, and birds that may ingest them, which is why we strive to clean coastal areas where litter can easily be washed into the ocean. We are so grateful to all of the volunteers who joined us to leave Fort Lauderdale Beach a little bit cleaner.
The goal of this cleanup was to get the local yachting community involved in a local cleanup and share SeaKeepers' mission and Meridian's services with them. We also encouraged volunteers to use Marine Debris Tracker to collect data on what was found during the cleanup. 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, 80% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.