Clearwater’s Big Cleanup Event – Thousands picked up litter “Hoping to inspire new habits”

Clearwater’s Big Cleanup Event – Thousands picked up litter “Hoping to inspire new habits”

Photo: John Pendygraft, Tampa Bay Times

“Earlier this year, Sheri Heilman knew she wasn’t the only one fed up with the litter strewn on Clearwater Beach’s famous sugar sand and the bottles and wrappers stuck in storm drains.

In April, business owners and community leaders spent nearly all of a two-hour meeting that was supposed to be about general beach issues talking about the trash problem.

Over the next few months, Heilman and other stakeholders came up with a plan to send a message to all of Tampa Bay to get serious about the litter that strangles wildlife, fouls waterways and erodes general decency.

Throughout this week, about 1,500 volunteers and 50 businesses and organizations are estimated to have participated in The Big Cleanup, said to be the largest community-wide litter effort in city history. Organized by the Ocean Allies nonprofit founded by Heilman, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Amplify Clearwater and other groups, the goal is for visibility of the six-day event to initiate a culture shift.

‘We hope that this is going to be just the start of the conversation and that this conversation continues into a lifestyle change,’ said Heilman, who also owns Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber restaurant on Clearwater Beach…

Heilman said The Big Cleanup reflects the education about avoidable waste that Ocean Allies has been trying to spread to businesses in Clearwater. Formed in 2018, Ocean Allies certifies businesses as ocean friendly if they meet certain criteria, like banning single-use plastics and foam, enforcing recycling, and other standards.

So far about 40 restaurants, vendors, salons, hotels and other businesses have been certified, according to the Ocean Allies website.

The Big Cleanup stopped calling for volunteers this week because of the massive response, but Heilman said she hopes residents carry on the spirit of the event every day in their own lives.”

— John Pendygraft, Tampa Bay Times

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“Friends of A1A launch campaign to fight litter: ‘Pack It In, Pack It Out’ “

“Friends of A1A launch campaign to fight litter: ‘Pack It In, Pack It Out’ “

“The Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway announced the program ‘Be a Byway Sea Star – Pack It In, Pack It Out’ launching on June 1.

The first pilot program location will be at the River to Sea Preserve along SR A1A, where trash receptacles will be removed from public spaces and visitors will be encouraged to leave no trace by taking their trash with them.

Based on the seven principles of the ‘Leave No Trace’ program used by agencies such as the U.S. National Park Service and municipalities across the nation, the Friends of A1A are aiming to reduce litter along the A1A Scenic Byway coastal corridor’s beaches and waterways…

The program is funded by the Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway and in part through a competitive grant provided by the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida…

Visit for more details.”

— Danielle Anderson, Palm Coast Observer
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Protecting paradise: International Coastal Cleanup Day is Sept 21

Protecting paradise: International Coastal Cleanup Day is Sept 21

Photo: WPTV
“The International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest, one-day volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. Every September, volunteers from over 100 countries descend on local beaches, rivers, lakes and canals to show their commitment to cleaner waterways…”

Cleanup locations in Palm Beach County are included in this article and this popular activity will be held along beaches and waterways throughout our state.

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Commercial Litter in Public Spaces: “South Walton group wants ‘ghost chairs’ to vanish”

Commercial Litter in Public Spaces: “South Walton group wants ‘ghost chairs’ to vanish”

Photo: News 7
“Empty beach chairs won’t occupy large swaths of the prime Walton County coastline next tourist season if the South Walton Community Council has its way.

The council, represented at Tuesday’s County Commission by John Reichenbach, wants to see some pretty drastic changes to the way beach vendors conduct business.

“We think it’s critical we get behind a managed beach vendor program,” Reichenbach told commissioners.

Among the changes proposed by the Community Council is a regulation that would “eliminate ghost chairs” by requiring vendors to set up their chairs only after a beach-going customers arrive and remove it when they leave.

Although he came to the meeting prepared for discussion, Reichenbach will have to wait until next year for a public hearing on beach code revision recommendations.

Before he even stood to speak, commissioners voted to postpone any discussion Tuesday and schedule a forum for Jan. 9 to debate what will likely be a long series of beach management proposals…
Walton County has heard complaints for years about vendors taking up too much beach space by setting up chairs that nobody sits in. They’ve also heard that vendors are too aggressive or that they set up dozens of chairs in prime locations along the water early in the morning before locals and visitors can claim a spot.

Like many other things along the beaches of South Walton, the vendor issues were exacerbated this year by the implementation of House Bill 631, which led to squabbling over customary use of the beach and private property rights.

Along with its call to eliminate ghost chairs, the South Walton Community Council also recommended that the number of beach vendor permits be limited and that a code enforcement officer or paid beach monitor be employed to watch for ordinance violations.”

— Tom Mclaughlin, NWF Daily News
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Read additional WJFG article on possible regulations

Legal: “The Rise of Electric Scooter Regulations – U.S. cities grapple with the regulatory challenges posed by electric scooter sharing programs.”

Legal: “The Rise of Electric Scooter Regulations – U.S. cities grapple with the regulatory challenges posed by electric scooter sharing programs.”

Photo: The Regulatory Review
“Cities across the country have been invaded by flocks of Birds. But these Birds do not have wings—they have wheels.

Bird is the largest of several electric scooter share companies operating in cities worldwide. Scooter users download an app to locate and unlock the motorized scooters, then rent them by the minute. The scooters are dockless and tracked by GPS, so users can park them anywhere at the end of a ride instead of returning them to a designated location.

In theory, these programs are similar to bike shares like Indego, Divvy, and CitiBike, which offer short-term bicycle rentals within certain cities. But the sudden rollout of motorized scooters on city sidewalks—sometimes without warning—has demanded rapid regulatory responses from city officials.

In Los Angeles, where Bird unexpectedly launched last fall, many residents eagerly adopted motorized scooters as a short-distance transportation option. But the city government also received immediate complaints.

According to scooter share companies, users are supposed to ride scooters in bike lanes and park them near bike racks. But in practice, riders often zoom along sidewalks. Users also park scooters where they block pedestrian traffic, frustrating other residents.

Los Angeles issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bird in June 2018, demanding it to ‘remove any and all vehicles’ from the city. But the letter also stated that the city had a ‘pending regulatory process for permitting scooters’ which, if adopted, would allow Bird—and similar companies such as Lime and Spin—to operate scooter shares legally.

Since then, Los Angeles City Council approved a city-wide dockless vehicle pilot program. The program invited Bird and other companies to establish scooter shares by following new rules about permitting, parking, and maintenance. The regulations include a requirement for companies to have a 24-hour contact person available for ’emergency removals’ of scooters.

Other cities have also regulated scooters, including Washington, D.C. The city began a formal pilot program for dockless vehicles last year to test the popularity of scooter and bike shares. According to Washington’s Department of Transportation, the program logged more than 625,000 rides since its start date through June 2018.

Due to the high demand for dockless scooter and bike sharing, Washington extended its pilot program to the end of 2018 and plans to launch a new city-wide permitting process in 2019…

Electric scooters…are more popular and affordable than the Segway. In most cities, Bird charges a dollar to unlock a scooter and only 15 cents per minute of riding. This makes scooters available to users who cannot or do not want to pay hundreds of dollars to purchase their own scooter. The widespread popularity of shared electric scooters has made calls for their regulation far more pressing than those raised by Segway.

Despite the scooter wave that has swept through cities worldwide, one major city has held out—New York City. This is in part because the state of New York completely prohibits the use of motorized scooters, defined as ‘a device with a motor attached and a handlebar for a standing rider.’

Scooter companies have so far been unwilling to launch in New York City. But growing demand for affordable, convenient transportation—and the potential to alleviate automobile traffic and parking challenges—has inspired city officials to pave the path for scooters. Two New York City Council members, Rafael L. Espinal Jr. and Ydanis Rodriguez, introduced a package of legislation that would allow electric scooter shares in the city…”

— Kate Mancuso,The Regulatory Review
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Citizens for a Scenic Florida