“Shells and sand aren’t the only things you’ll see on Florida’s beaches — cigarette butts are also a common sight.
According to a 2021 report from Ocean Conservancy and International Coastal Cleanup, cigarettes were the number one trash item found at beaches in 2020, with 964,521 recorded. Plastic bottles followed with 627,014 recorded and 573,534 food wrappers found.
It’s an issue fourth-grader Robert Dhingra wanted to do something about. Dhingra, who lives in Cocoa Beach, said he really began noticing all the cigarette butts back in January, which bothered him, especially because he didn’t see places for people to dispose of them safely.
‘There should be receptacle cans for cigarettes too because if you put them in the regular trash cans, the trash could catch fire,’ Dhingra said.
He and his mom, Mina Sharma, started going out once a week on the beach near their apartment and picking up butts for an hour or more at a time.
But when he kept noticing them, Dhingra decided just cleanup wasn’t enough. He wanted to call attention to the issue. So, the then third-grade student penned an op-ed for a local newspaper…
He also created a presentation, which he showcased at his elementary school for the teachers and students.
During the 2022 legislative session, Republican State Sen. Joe Gruter introduced a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to establish bans on smoking in both state parks and on public beaches, which was signed into law and will go into effect on July 1.”
— By Will Robinson-Smith Brevard County, Orlando News 13
“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.”
“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…
“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.
Photo: WJHG.com 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
Read entire article
Read additional WJFG article on possible regulations