While on my typical Sunday afternoon boat ride on the Middle River in Fort Lauderdale, I came across continuous plastic and non-biodegradable items floating in the seaway. This immediately caught my attention. I wondered how many different clubs or groups of people volunteer to help out with the overflowing trash. I looked up recent movement and progress with beach and ocean cleaning in both Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. Both beaches had a volunteer work crew to help out which does work once every other month. A pompano crew even pulled out furniture, refrigerators, a 400-pound wild boar and a dead gator, skinned.
I thought to myself when researching these very concerning facts, I should do something to contribute and help our overflowing waterways. I later talked to my parents about what I should do. Since our discussion, I’ve decided that, by the beginning of next year, I’ll be collecting and disposing of excess trash found on my accessible river way canal, the intercoastal in Fort Lauderdale and local beaches. Even though Broward County has their own workforce, I’ll be doing my part to spread the word and keep our oceans clean. Be The Change.
Here are some of my goals for the next few months:
Fish out debris and trash across the waterways weekly with kayak/boat
Find a safe place to dispose these items
Get help from friends and the Climate Change Club at my school
Get donations for cleaning gear/nets
Continue my mission while traveling
Write about my experience and what I’m doing to help
Spread the word
Lastly, you might be asking yourself, What can I do to make a difference? To start you could reduce waste. When speaking about reducing waste, think about what you really need to throw away vs. what you could actually recycle. Not everything can be recycled, but making sure when you are able to recycle items, you do. When shopping, shop wisely when you bring your own reusable bag, you are using and buying less plastic. You are choosing to make a difference by using less plastic, making it so you contribute less to plastic in our waters. There are many ways to make a difference by keeping our oceans clean and giving back to our community and our earth.
Shania Mahmood is a high school freshman at American Heritage School in Plantation, FL.