Be a part of protecting turtle nests and reducing marine litter

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May 2020

Be a part of protecting turtle nests and reducing marine litter.

 

Dear political representatives:

We are a group of marine scientists, environmentalists, students, residents, and tourists concerned about the health, protection and conservation of marine ecosystems (flora and fauna), and we are hoping that the re-opening of the beaches will be carried out in an organized and sustainable way that takes seriously the water quality of the ocean and the safety of marine life.

When observing how fauna is returning to its habitats (Example: More Turtle Nest in South Beach than previous years during April & May), it is essential to take into account the lesson we have learned during the quarantine, which is the great impact that anthropogenic activities are causing to the environment. At long last, we have observed clean beaches, and this is because there is no anthropogenic activity that impacts them with solid waste or litter. With this in mind, we are hereby petitioning you to enforce Florida Law Statute 403.413 and fine those people who leave trash lying on the beaches, as well as to protect the habitat and space of the sea turtle nests. For too many years, we have observed large amounts of garbage on our beaches; it is imperative that we take appropriate action at this time to prevent this environmental crime from recurring.

The most visible and disturbing impact of marine plastics is the ingestion, suffocation, and entanglement of hundreds of marine species, including turtles that come to Florida for nesting. Floating plastics also contribute to the spread of invasive marine organisms and bacteria, which disrupt ecosystems.

More than 8 million tons of plastic and garbage end up in our oceans every year. The main sources of marine litter are land-based-deriving from urban storm runoff, beach visitors, and inadequate waste disposal and management—with the effect of polluting surface waters and depositing in deep-sea sediments. Marine litter has produced the famous garbage patches found in the five ocean gyres, which are expanding dangerously every day. This litter, comprised of macro and micro plastics, is killing marine fauna including turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, seabirds-among others-and is also bio-accumulating as toxins along the food web, causing indirect and irreversible damage to humans who consume marine products. Currently, instead of shells on the beaches, we find pieces of littler and plastic. Is this the world we want to live in? Of course not! Therefore, we ask that you (as our representatives) take the appropriate action to remediate this serious problem. Now is the right time, since people can see the great change that has taken place during the COVID-19 crisis, are sensitized to it, and are likely to listen to and obey the laws.

In addition to the impacts listed above, litter on the beaches has a direct effect on the local economy. It negatively affects the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to a decrease in tourism-related revenue, not to mention the considerable economic costs related to the cleaning and maintenance of the beaches.

Thus, we are requesting that the City of Miami Beach enforce Florida Law Statute 403.413, and apply to any person found littering a penalty of up to a $100, as the law recommends.

Apart from fines (since it is the fastest way for people to understand), it is necessary to carry out environmental education and awareness campaigns in mass media, such as TV and social networks.

We offer you our knowledge, experience and support to solve this environmental issue as soon as possible.

Sincerely,


Marisela Valero (Director - Planeta Vital)
Raiza Perrault (Environmental Educator– Planeta Vital)

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