Andy's Story

While just recently getting re-certified in scuba diving, I have begun to realize what a serious problem we have with marine pollution. On my first dive, a shallow 20 ft shore dive at the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach, one of the most beautiful and diverse dive spots in the world, I noticed debris floating and laying around on the intracoastal floor, I picked up a couple of pieces and continued my dive. I remember feeling surprised, but not really taking notice per se. As I progressed in my dives, down to 60-130 ft, I had continued to see debris either floating or laying on the ocean floor, now I began taking notice and started to be very aware of it, on wreck dives, drift dives on shallow and deep dives? I could not believe that on almost every dive, I would see some type of debris in the ocean. I was not aware of how bad this problem is.

"I could not believe that on almost every dive, I would see some type of debris in the ocean."

"I could not believe that on almost every dive, I would see some type of debris in the ocean. I was not aware of how bad this problem is."

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Around the same time, I was volunteering at Johnathan Dickinson State Park as a campground host. I would visit the local beaches around Jupiter almost daily in my spare time, just walking up and down the beaches when I go. I would pick up debris and hold it in my arms as I walked, while never bringing anything with me to put it in? And again, surprised at the amount of debris there is and what a serious problem this has become. One Saturday morning, the Surfrider Foundation held a beach cleanup and were supplying buckets and grabbers, I grabbed a bucket and spent a couple of hours just picking up debris. Later that night, reflecting on the day and feeling good about how much was picked up, I wondered why buckets weren’t being offered at the beaches on a constant basis.

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"Later that night, reflecting on the day and feeling good about how much was picked up, I wondered why buckets weren’t being offered at the beaches on a constant basis."

I presented the idea to Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation, of building stations that consist of a garbage can and multiple buckets and placing them at the beach crossovers for easy access for people to use and pick up debris while enjoying the beach if they so desired. Also realizing how much visual awareness the stations would create, just by having them located at the entrances to the beach. By including local municipalities, businesses, and organizations and having them show their support and involvement through our buckets and encouraging them to hold multiple cleanups throughout the year, we will be creating even more awareness and cleanup events throughout our communities to get involved in. 

 

Is this really what we are leaving our children? Unfortunately, we are the ones who created this problem and are the only ones who can solve it. No one person can do this, we need to collaborate with all levels of government, businesses, organizations, and communities. We all need to get involved and I believe this project will greatly assist in that.

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