The Fort Lauderdale community rallied together to kick off Debris Month of Action at the in the first annual SOS Ocean Clean-Up. Over 120 volunteers consisting of local divers, snorkelers, surfers and beach-goers helped support the Project AWARE movement for a trash free ocean and environment by collecting over 92 pounds of trash.
The festivities were spread out over 4 hours on Saturday, September 6, 2014, beginning at East Las Olas Blvd & A1A along Fort Lauderdale Beach followed by a Volunteer Awards & After Party at Quarterdeck’s sponsored by SweetWater Brewing.
Removing debris from the area is crucial to protect marine life. The Fort Lauderdale dive sites are home to over 260 species of tropical fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and other marine life and is the only natural coral reef in North America.
The community started the day with some beach yoga with Erika Lima Yoga, and then munched donuts while enjoying live drumming on the sand from the Drum Café entertainers.
The first 100 volunteers received a free SOS Ocean Clean-Up tee shirt and prize giveaways from local surf and dive shops. It was a community project of so many participants who care about the environment and celebrate their connection to the ocean.
Trophies (made from recycled marine debris of course) were awarded to 3 individuals for collecting the most trash.
“My family found so many water bottles, lots of cigarette butts, syringes and even a dirty diaper!," said Jennifer Doxsee. "We picked up all kinds of trash up and down the shoreline.”
The safety of marine life depends on getting the debris out of the water, especially during sea turtle nesting season. “Much of our waste products do not biodegrade and many plastics, for example, break down into smaller fragments posing danger to marine life and human health,” says Lisa Miceli-Capano, founder of the SOS Ocean Clean-Up. “Together, we can change and work towards a clean, healthy ocean planet.”
Stoked On Salt submits their debris data to Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris map, visualizing the types and amounts of debris scuba divers around the world have removed and reported from underwater environments since 2011. Stopping the trash flow at its source, before it can reach the water, is everybody's responsibility. Waste, and how we choose to handle it, affects all ecosystems on the planet.
A huge thanks to Stoked on Salt and the Fort Lauderdale community for your unique and entertaining ocean celebration this Debris Month of Action.