Monthly Morningside Park Cleanup
June 10, 2023
On Saturday, June 10th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society hosted our monthly cleanup at Morningside Park in Miami, Florida. We were joined by 15 volunteers who set out with the mission to collect as much trash as possible from the park, including the shoreline and mangroves. This cleanup was particularly timely due to the amount of rain Miami received the week prior, washing a lot of trash from the more inland parts of the park to the coastline and into the oceans. We observed a lot of sargassum on the shoreline unfortunately containing a lot of bottle caps and microplastics that were once at sea. Our volunteers collected an impressive 60 lbs of trash from the park, leaving Morningside Park a little bit cleaner for its inhabitants. This cleanup served as a reminder of how a storm introduces pollutants to our waters through the watershed, creating unsafe swimming conditions. We are grateful to everyone who came out to help us clean, and we look forward to returning to Morningside Park next month!
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, 33% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.