Clean Miami Beach’s weekly cleanups are aimed at preserving the city’s environment and natural resources, according to the group’s website.
Yunasi Ramos, one of the nonprofit’s leaders, said she finds it incredibly sad that so much trash is in the ocean, but her group is trying to make a difference.
The organization was started in 2019 by Sophie Ringel, who used to pick up trash on her daily walks at the beach, said Ramos. A few friends joined in, and they became a bigger group.
“We needed to have a strong enough voice so the government officials and the community could hear us,” Ramos said.
Ringel said that she is concerned about the rising consumption of single-use plastic utensils and the fact they take thousands of years to biodegrade.
“Everybody needs to understand and learn that the environment is very important and we need to protect it, but we don’t learn that in schools,” Ringel said.
The organization, she said, works with businesses, officials, volunteers, teachers and students to raise awareness about these plastics and their negative impact on the environment.
“When people get together for the environment it is very moving because it feels like we are giving back to the Earth,” Ringel said. “Everyone is always happy to help and overcome the same problem.”
In one of the group’s most recent events, Clean Miami Beach partnered with Clevelander South Beach Hotel to host a cleanup and fundraiser to celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8.
“I think it’s important to pick up plastic and paper [and] anything that can be harmful to wildlife or animals or other people,” said volunteer Christie Springer. “It also gives me a sense of pride. . . to participate in a community event that helps the environment.”
At a June 12 cleanup, volunteer Steven Chun said he got involved to help preserve the beaches.
“It is also about telling people how important it is to restore the oceans by keeping plastics off the beach,” he said.
With donations received through their website and the events, the organization provides supplies such as trash bags, gloves and pickers for the cleanups. The group also uses donations for marketing and educational purposes, according to its website.
Besides Clean Miami Beach, other groups get together on different days and locations to pick up trash. Local 10 News, as part of its “Don’t Trash Our Treasure” initiative, provides a list of where people can volunteer throughout South Florida.