Beach pollution is a serious problem during spring break

Spring break is coming up, and it seems almost everyone is talking about it. From friends to teachers, the most common question I answer nowadays is about my plans for break.   

For some students, spring break involves traveling to warm beaches, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sun after a long Indiana winter. For residents of many coastal Florida towns, spring break means trash, garbage and pollution.

If you’re going to these towns, even those famous for their party atmospheres, keeping the beaches clean should be a priority.  

While spring break is fun for students, the influx of tourists into coastal towns causes severe problems. In 2017, Miami Beach police in Florida stated there were about 20 spring break-related arrests in the week between March 3 and March 10.  

One of the concerns for many residents of these beach towns is the trash which is left on the beaches after the party ends.  

In a cleanup that occurred after a beach party in March 2017 on Fort Lauderdale Beach, 850 pounds of trash was picked up by volunteers and members of SOS Ocean Clean Up, a local volunteer group associated with a ocean conservation clothing line.   

The 850 pounds of trash that was picked up included cans, tarps and glass bottles, even though, alcohol and glass were banned on Fort Lauderdale Beach.  

Concerns over the trash, as well as other spring break-related problems, has led many beach communities to create stricter rules for their visitors. 

In 2017, Miami Beach issued bans for coolers, tents and alcohol on the sand. This was done in response to Floatopia.  

Floatopia was a party that occurred during spring of 2016. The Miami Herald described the aftermath of this part as a “trashed beach covered in discarded rafts, bottles and cans.”

The trash on these beaches doesn’t just lead to bans or alcohol suspensions.  There can be real consequences for the environment as well.  

The Ocean Conservancy estimated in the last 30 years, its volunteers had picked up 220 million pounds of trash from beaches around the the world. This trash can be mistaken as food by wildlife or can kill them

Spring break is supposed to be fun. It’s a time where we can all relax, let our hair down and enjoy the last real break before finals. 

However, what we do over spring break can have consequences, not just for us, but for the environment as a whole. 

So, while you’re enjoying the warm sun on a sandy beach, remember to pick up after yourself. It’s how we keep our beaches clean. 

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