Palmer Trinity Students Volunteer at International Coastal Cleanup

Palmer Trinity Students joined the world's largest volunteer effort for our ocean during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 21. The cleanup took place in over 100 countries worldwide. In Miami-Dade, there were over forty simultaneous cleanups all over the county that were attended by thousands of volunteers.

“Ocean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, marine life, and local economies,” said Dr. Leopoldo Llinas, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Palmer Trinity School. “When students volunteer at cleanup events they learn about marine debris and earn community service hours while giving back and enjoying a great day with like-minded people,” Dr. Llinas added.

At Deering Estate, one of the cleanup sites, one hundred volunteers registered to participate in this global citizen science project, including Palmer Trinity School students and Dr. Llinas. Volunteers collected over 300 pounds of ocean trash at this one location. Palmer Trinity students volunteered at other locations. Students participated in beach cleanups with We Are Nature at Matheson Hammock Park and with the Surfrider Foundation in North Miami Beach.

Student volunteers not only removed ocean trash but also cataloged and tallied the marine debris they found using the Ocean Conservancy’s data collection cards and the Clean Swell app. The top ten items collected included cigarette butts, food wrappers, straws, plastic beverage bottles, and plastic grocery bags. The data collected was uploaded to the Ocean Conservancy’s global ocean trash database. This Ocean Trash Index delivers a global snapshot of the ocean trash problem and provides researchers and policy-makers insight to inform solutions.

Thanks to volunteers around Miami, the International Coastal Cleanup has become a beacon of hope, leading and inspiring action in support of our ocean. After participating in the International Coastal Cleanup, students realized that there are many things that they can do – from asking the restaurants they frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing their own reusable water bottle to school, to recycling at home.

Our community is waking up to the problem, and governments are starting to act. An impressive and growing number of local governments have taken action against plastic pollution. “I have seen a lot of positive action, but the truth is that we all need to do more” Dr. Llinas concluded. “We do not have to wait until the next coastal cleanup to act.”
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