Documenting trash in
Miami Beach waterways
Problems, Ramifications and Solutions
Research compiled by Dave Doebler
Dave.do...
• The objectives of this survey were to clean up and photo
document the ‘catch’, as well as attempt to determine
sources o...
• There is a vast amount of human created
trash in our waterways – Canal, Bay and
Ocean.
• Trash originates from land, flo...
Dave and his Kayak
1.4 miles
• Plastic shopping bags
• Plastic water soda bottles
• Cigarette butts
• Cigarette pack plastic wrappers
• Styrofoam Cups ...
August 11, 2013 – Week 1
 52 plastic bottles – mostly water
 38 plastic shopping bags
 18 styrofoam containers – mostly...
August 18, 2013 – Week 2
 36 plastic bottles – mostly water
 41 plastic shopping bags
 24 styrofoam containers – mostly...
August 25, 2013 – Week 3
 27 plastic bottles – mostly water
 23 plastic shopping bags
 11 styrofoam containers – mostly...
September 1, 2013 – Week 4
Alternative location using net 23rd and Bayshore Drive.
Trash is everywhere in our waterways…
F...
September 8, 2013 – Week 5
 37 plastic bottles – mostly water
 39 plastic shopping bags
 17 styrofoam containers – most...
September 15, 2013 – Week 6
 34 plastic bottles – mostly water
 37 plastic shopping bags
 24 styrofoam containers – mos...
IMPORTANT DISCOVERY– Trash clogs our
storm drains!!
Storm drain on 22 and Washington
COMPLETELY clogged. Only a trickle of...
Once removed, storm water flows freely
**August 25th 2013
Contents of storm drain blockage
 Plastic bottles
 Aluminum ca...
Another Clogged storm drain
Storm drain on 18th and
Washington COMPLETELY
clogged. No water flows out.
Trash packed so tig...
West Avenue and 19th Street
Clogged storm drains can’t function as
designed, leading to flooding
Water remains all day with nowhere to go
MORNING 7:53 am
September 18, 2013
(High Tide is at 8:54am)
EVENING 7:39 pm
Septe...
More examples on West Avenue of drains that
do not allow water to flow out
MORNING 7:53 am - September 18, 2013 - (High Ti...
Storm drains lack a mechanism to PREVENT
trash from going inside and getting stuck
Where does it go?
How is it cleaned?
Wh...
Size of new grating has serious implications
New storm water outlets have more
spacing in the grates.
This prevents blocka...
Trash collects on the side of the road on the canal banks of
Dade Blvd during LOW Tide.
Street Level 
Trash 
Sea Wall Li...
At high tide, as the water rises, this trash is
carried out to sea
Plastic bags are a HUGE problem
Plastic bags snagged on tree branches
Publix Bag 
 Walgreens Bag
Plastic bags are a HUGE problem
Plastic bags float inches beneath the water surface.
Notice the irony of a plastic bag wit...
1 Million plastic bags were collected from Florida’s
waterways in 1 day
Source : Ocean Conservancy :
http://www.oceanconse...
Negative effects of trash our waterways
• TOURISM : Visitors come to Miami Beach for beautiful sands and water life
(swimm...
Sources of this trash?
• Non-bio-degradable plastic bags given by stores by default in mass
quantities (even with one item...
Solutions must focus on 5 key areas
People Proper Disposal Capture Clean-upTrapping
Areas to focus
• PEOPLE
• Education that litter on the ground becomes litter in our
oceans
• Reduce consumption of non-bio...
EDUCATE
• Educational campaign around Littering and cleaning up after yourself (signage at the beach
and on pedestrian wal...
People - Educate
Best Practices from other Cities
Best Practices from other Cities
People – Reduce
Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains
Denver Major European City
• Review trash can placement – quantity and placement of cans is severely lacking. City
should place trash can on every co...
• Better grating to keep materials from going into the drains.
• Marking street gutters with ‘No DUMPING – Drains to water...
• Better cleaning schedule of traps
• Better design of traps and ‘catch bin’ at the water output
Trapping and Cleaning cat...
• We need more consistent clean-up of all waterways. We have a ‘contractor’, but what
is the frequency? Accountability?
• ...
- Thank You -
Documenting trash in
Miami Beach waterways
Problems, Ramifications and Solutions
Research compiled by Dave D...
Documenting trash in miami beach waterways
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Documenting trash in miami beach waterways

  1. 1. Documenting trash in Miami Beach waterways Problems, Ramifications and Solutions Research compiled by Dave Doebler Dave.doebler@gmail.com 954-415-7434
  2. 2. • The objectives of this survey were to clean up and photo document the ‘catch’, as well as attempt to determine sources of trash in our waterways • Every Sunday for 6 weeks, Dave completed a kayak cleanup of Collins Canal at the same time every week. Trash was picked up strictly from the kayak – no side cleanups. • Paddle route started at Dade and Purdy (canal inlet) and continued 1.4 miles to Indian Creek and 23rd. • Each cleanup took about 4 hours. Collins Canal trash survey - Goals and Methodology
  3. 3. • There is a vast amount of human created trash in our waterways – Canal, Bay and Ocean. • Trash originates from land, flows into the canals and bay, and then floats out into the ocean as the tides go in and out. • Trash input is continuous, and never ending. • The trash in our waterways is mostly plastic with a decomposition rate of hundreds of years. • And, its contributing to flooding problems in Miami Beach Key Findings:
  4. 4. Dave and his Kayak
  5. 5. 1.4 miles
  6. 6. • Plastic shopping bags • Plastic water soda bottles • Cigarette butts • Cigarette pack plastic wrappers • Styrofoam Cups and food containers • Bottle caps • Straws • Food bags (potato chips) and wrappers • Aluminum cans • Used fishing line thrown in the water Commonly found trash in Collins Canal:
  7. 7. August 11, 2013 – Week 1  52 plastic bottles – mostly water  38 plastic shopping bags  18 styrofoam containers – mostly coffee cups  19 aluminum cans - mostly beer cans  Significant volume : cigarette butts & plastic wrappers
  8. 8. August 18, 2013 – Week 2  36 plastic bottles – mostly water  41 plastic shopping bags  24 styrofoam containers – mostly coffee cups  13 aluminum cans - mostly beer cans  Significant volume : cigarette butts and plastic wrappers
  9. 9. August 25, 2013 – Week 3  27 plastic bottles – mostly water  23 plastic shopping bags  11 styrofoam containers – mostly coffee cups  13 aluminum cans - mostly beer cans  Significant volume : cigarette butts and plastic wrappers
  10. 10. September 1, 2013 – Week 4 Alternative location using net 23rd and Bayshore Drive. Trash is everywhere in our waterways… Filled an empty trash can within 45 minutes of cleaning using a net with 10 foot extension handle. Contents: Straws, plastic bottles, styrofoam, cigarette butts, plastic bags, cigarette pack wrappers.
  11. 11. September 8, 2013 – Week 5  37 plastic bottles – mostly water  39 plastic shopping bags  17 styrofoam containers – mostly coffee cups  20 aluminum cans  Significant volume : cigarette butts and plastic wrappers
  12. 12. September 15, 2013 – Week 6  34 plastic bottles – mostly water  37 plastic shopping bags  24 styrofoam containers – mostly coffee cups  27 aluminum cans  Significant volume : cigarette butts and plastic wrappers
  13. 13. IMPORTANT DISCOVERY– Trash clogs our storm drains!! Storm drain on 22 and Washington COMPLETELY clogged. Only a trickle of water flows out. As I pull debris out, water starts flowing out at a significant rate.**August 25th 2013
  14. 14. Once removed, storm water flows freely **August 25th 2013 Contents of storm drain blockage  Plastic bottles  Aluminum cans  Plastic shopping bags  Plastic cups and containers  Coconut (which I cannot remove)
  15. 15. Another Clogged storm drain Storm drain on 18th and Washington COMPLETELY clogged. No water flows out. Trash packed so tight, the drain cannot be cleaned. This street probably floods.
  16. 16. West Avenue and 19th Street Clogged storm drains can’t function as designed, leading to flooding
  17. 17. Water remains all day with nowhere to go MORNING 7:53 am September 18, 2013 (High Tide is at 8:54am) EVENING 7:39 pm September 18, 2013 (High Tide is at 9:16pm) West Avenue at 13th
  18. 18. More examples on West Avenue of drains that do not allow water to flow out MORNING 7:53 am - September 18, 2013 - (High Tide is at 8:54pm)
  19. 19. Storm drains lack a mechanism to PREVENT trash from going inside and getting stuck Where does it go? How is it cleaned? What happens if the drains are not cleaned frequently? Is this water backup due to trash clogging the drain?
  20. 20. Size of new grating has serious implications New storm water outlets have more spacing in the grates. This prevents blockage, but allows free flow of garbage straight out to the canal / bay. Is this really the solution?
  21. 21. Trash collects on the side of the road on the canal banks of Dade Blvd during LOW Tide. Street Level  Trash  Sea Wall Line  Low Tide Water Line  High Tide Water Line 
  22. 22. At high tide, as the water rises, this trash is carried out to sea
  23. 23. Plastic bags are a HUGE problem Plastic bags snagged on tree branches Publix Bag   Walgreens Bag
  24. 24. Plastic bags are a HUGE problem Plastic bags float inches beneath the water surface. Notice the irony of a plastic bag with pictures of Dolphins.
  25. 25. 1 Million plastic bags were collected from Florida’s waterways in 1 day Source : Ocean Conservancy : http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/international-coastal-cleanup/2012-ocean-trash-index.html *2012 International Coastal Cleanup Stats
  26. 26. Negative effects of trash our waterways • TOURISM : Visitors come to Miami Beach for beautiful sands and water life (swimming, boating, fishing, etc). When visitors go kayaking, surfing, or to the beach, they see a trash filled mess. • FLOODING : Clogged storm drains prevent water from flowing into the canal / bay. There is supposed to be ‘cleaning’ of the traps, but is that frequent enough? • FOOD CHAIN : This is a risk to the food chain. Small creatures ingest small plastics, larger creatures eat those small creatures or plastic pieces, and we eat those larger creatures. • ANIMALS : Sea life often mistakes trash as food, and it blocks digestive systems – killing the animals. Turtles confuse plastic bags as jellyfish. Manatees eat sea grass that has small bits of plastic bags. Birds eat bottle caps thinking they are small fish. • SAFETY : Trash in the water creates a safety issue for boaters
  27. 27. Sources of this trash? • Non-bio-degradable plastic bags given by stores by default in mass quantities (even with one item). No comprehension of the consequences. • People throwing trash on the ground / not in a garbage can • Cigarette smokers throwing plastic wrapper and butts on the ground • Inconsistent placement of garbage cans • Trash cans without lids that prevent wind blowing trash out • Plastic bags become Urban Tumbleweeds • Plastic waste goes down the drains and out to the waterways • Inefficient cleaning schedule of storm water drain traps to prevent clogging and overrun of traps.
  28. 28. Solutions must focus on 5 key areas People Proper Disposal Capture Clean-upTrapping
  29. 29. Areas to focus • PEOPLE • Education that litter on the ground becomes litter in our oceans • Reduce consumption of non-biodegradable single use plastics • PROPER DISPOSAL • Proper placement of trash cans - “can on every corner” • Trash cans lids that prevent wind blowing trash out • CAPTURE • Proper gratings that keep objects from flowing into the drains • TRAPPING • Effective filtration system and proper cleaning of traps • CLEANUP • Clean the canals / waterways as we do the streets
  30. 30. EDUCATE • Educational campaign around Littering and cleaning up after yourself (signage at the beach and on pedestrian walkways). • Educate public that cigarette butts are not bio-degradable and are litter! • Storm Drain ‘Graffiti’ to relay educational message that the drain leads to the waterway REDUCE • More re-usable bag campaigns – work with Publix, etc. • Require Bio-Degradable bags, straws, cups at take out restaurants. (paper, biodegradable plastic). If we cannot ‘mandate’, then we can ‘supply’ discounted bio-bags to businesses that tout ‘This Business is environmentally friendly’. • Set up water bottle refill stations on Lincoln Road (inexpensive attachments to existing Fire Hydrants) to reduce use of single-use plastic bottles ENFORCE • Enforcement of existing litter laws and citing people who throw trash / cigarettes on the ground. (In 2010, the City of Miami Beach Police reported ZERO citations for littering). • Zero Litter Policy. Rio De Janeiro recently implemented significant fines to reduce trash and save city dollars) http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/rio-lixo-zero-to-impose-fines-for-littering/ It starts with People
  31. 31. People - Educate Best Practices from other Cities
  32. 32. Best Practices from other Cities People – Reduce Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains Denver Major European City
  33. 33. • Review trash can placement – quantity and placement of cans is severely lacking. City should place trash can on every corner and create a “Can on every corner” campaign. • Ensure trash cans have proper lids to prevent contents from blowing out Proper Disposal “Can on Every Corner”
  34. 34. • Better grating to keep materials from going into the drains. • Marking street gutters with ‘No DUMPING – Drains to waterway Capturing at the street Innovative solutions exist
  35. 35. • Better cleaning schedule of traps • Better design of traps and ‘catch bin’ at the water output Trapping and Cleaning catches debris and keeps it out of the water
  36. 36. • We need more consistent clean-up of all waterways. We have a ‘contractor’, but what is the frequency? Accountability? • Have a Monthly ‘Go Clean Up Your Neighborhood’ day where we encourage people to clean their neighborhood • Adopt-a-Waterway - http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/news/Adopt-a-Waterway/index.asp • Volunteer ‘Citizen Corps’? CMB supplies kayaks and cleanup materials, volunteers go cleanup. Clean Up - Last resort
  37. 37. - Thank You - Documenting trash in Miami Beach waterways Problems, Ramifications and Solutions Research compiled by Dave Doebler Dave.doebler@gmail.com 954-415-7434

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