Monthly Morningside Park Cleanup
March 19, 2023
On May 19th, 2023 The International SeaKeepers Society hosted our monthly cleanup at Morningside Park in Miami, Florida. SeaKeepers were joined by 17 volunteers who got to work searching for trash all along the park, including the shoreline, where trash left by park visitors can wash into the ocean. A large part of the shoreline is made up of mangroves, which play a crucial role in protecting our coasts from hurricanes as well as acting as a nursery to fish and other marine organisms. We removed enough trash to fill 3 bags with an impressive amount of straws, yacht equipment, plastic bottles, microplastics, and even a sneaker! Our volunteers were able to provide non-profits and research institutions with data by recording the amount and types of trash we found using the Citizen Science app Marine Debris Tracker. We removed 67.1 lbs of trash from the park, leaving behind a cleaner park for people and animals to enjoy. Parks and coastlines are often forgotten territory when it comes to beach cleanups, and by removing debris we were able to prevent more trash from contaminating our oceans.
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, 53% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.
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