Free Our Shores Clean Beaches Week Celebration
July 5, 2022
On July 5th, 2022, 76 volunteers spent the day after 4th of July festivities cleaning up the debris that was left on Virginia Key by fireworks, picnickers and partying. This cleanup was hosted in collaboration with our partner organizations Miami Waterkeeper, Debris Free Oceans, and Compost for Life, in conjunction with Virginia Key Outdoor Center and with support from Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. Bohemian Kitchen food truck was also available providing vegan and vegetarian options for volunteers. 530 pounds of trash were cleared from the beach and picnic areas, not including the overflowing trash cans that had yet to be emptied.
According to the park’s volunteer Program Coordinator, the dumpsters that the cans are emptied into were overflowing with trash from Independence Day and needed to be emptied before the cans could in turn be taken care of. Volunteers pulled banners and balloons from trees, disposed of broken and discarded beach umbrellas and chairs, and collected cans, bottles, and food containers. This cleanup was intentionally scheduled the day after one of the dirtiest days of the year and is during Clean Beaches Week, which is celebrated every year from July 1-7 in an effort to keep beaches clean and pristine for all during Independence Day celebrations.
CleanSwell is a trash collection mobile app developed by Ocean Conservancy and utilized by volunteers at each of our cleanups that allows them to record the types and quantities of trash found during their clean. Our mission at SeaKeepers begins with the foundation of research followed by the education of communities that empower them to protect and restore the surrounding coastal and marine environments. Data from the CleanSwell app is included in a global database that scientists everywhere can access and provides a means of identifying pollution trends that are location specific. Using CleanSwell at our cleanups involves community members in the Ocean Conservancy’s pursuit of evidence based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and people that depend on it, as well as provides the data necessary for effective local legislation to be written accomplishing the SeaKeepers’ goal of protection and eventual restoration.