Monthly Morningside Park Cleanup

Miami, Florida
December 10, 2023


On December 10th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society hosted our monthly Morningside Park cleanup. It was a particularly windy day, and the rough conditions in the bay caused a lot of debris to wash up on the coastline. We were joined by 30 volunteers who set out with gloves, reusable trash collection bags and buckets and spread out all over the park in search of trash. Our bags started filling up quickly, with many volunteers returning with bags stuffed with trash such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, bottle caps, styrofoam, and food wrappers. Some other volunteers took the time to focus their attention on the debris on the coastline and tediously pulled out small fragments of plastic and styrofoam from between the rocks. No matter where they focused their attention, there was trash to be found. Within the 2 hour cleanup, our volunteers collected over 250 lbs of trash from the park and the bay itself. The most common items found were bottle caps, plastic fragments and foam fragments, and a large amount of boating debris was found as well, such as fenders and boat cushions. By removing this debris from the park regularly, we hope to greatly reduce the amount of trash that enters Biscayne Bay and reduce the amount of microplastics in the environment by removing plastic before it begins to break apart. We are grateful to all of our volunteers who attended the cleanup and got their hands dirty, we could not do it without you!

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, 20% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.

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