By Beverly Perkins
The Surfrider Foundation Broward County Chapter is always finding ways to raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean, on local beaches, and along the waterways. This past December, the ambitious and dedicated group joined the Hollywood Beach Candy Cane Parade with a creative display of their surfside findings.
The non-profit grassroots organization created and decorated a parade float entirely in marine debris which was all collected on Hollywood Beach during their weekly beach clean-ups. The float highlighted over 1000 pieces of plastic trash which was repurposed into a festive gingerbread house, a surfer, and some marine life. Other artwork on the traveling exhibit was created by students in the Warriors of the Rainbow Sustainability Club at Beachside Montessori Village. Surfrider volunteers donned tutus created from single-use plastic bags.
“I’m very excited to find a fun and creative way to raise awareness of the impact plastic pollution has on our ocean and local beaches. We hope that seeing all the garbage that we’ve pulled off Hollywood Beach will help motivate people to rethink their single-use plastic consumption,” said Cat Uden, Surfrider Foundation Chapter Chair.
The City of Hollywood is a coastal town. Its beautiful beaches are home to manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, and countless other marine life. Single-use plastics like straws, polystyrene cups, and polystyrene take out containers are harmful to not just the environment, but to people and to these living sea creatures.
Not only are the chemicals toxic for humans, but these items break apart into tiny micro-plastics that remain in the ocean forever. Plastics are then consumed by marine life and end up in the food chain. Additionally, these plastics are made from fossil fuels, so the fewer disposable plastics used, the better it is for the planet.
The focus and passion of the group is to protect and preserve the ocean, the beaches, and the waves through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a few visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation currently has over 500,000 supporters, activists, and members with more than 80 volunteer-led chapters and 60 clubs in the United States, and more than 400 victories protecting the coasts.
For more information or to get involved in the Surfrider Foundation Broward County Chapter, please visit broward.surfrider.org or call 954-261-5438.