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This is a photo from the beautiful Yachts Miami Beach Boat Show. Our inspections included several private luxury yacht charter vessels docked at the Deep Harbour Island Gardens marina, near downtown Miami, Florida. As we walked along the docks, I noticed our company President, Jana Sheeder, often pausing, bending down, picking up something, and putting it in her “Eco-Hero” tote bag. I asked Jana what she was picking up, and she paused and poured a few of the contents of her bag onto a locker box on the dock.
“Take a look,” she sighed. “This debris can easily end up in the water where it becomes part of the ocean pollution problem, as well as a threat to birds and marine life.”
So, I snapped the photo you see here.
When I look at this photo, I see beautiful superyachts that serve as a gateway to experience the wonders of our oceans. I see a segment of the tourism industry – private luxury yacht charter – that generates millions of dollars of revenue annually. I see a support network of thousands of crewmembers, dockhands, marina workers, and maintenance and repair staff. They all support their families from a livelihood that is inextricably dependent upon healthy oceans.
For me, the trash in the photo is a harsh reminder that the refuse we see floating in marinas and along the seawalls and walkways is a direct threat to the health of our waterways. It is also, therefore, a threat to our own livelihood.
As you read this blog, I can guess what some of you are thinking. “I’m not part of the problem – I would never throw trash in the water.” Good intention, but you or someone you know might still be directly responsible for pollution in our waterways.
It’s a common misconception that most trash comes from people throwing things directly into the water.
“Believe it or not, much to the trash in our waterways comes from litter thrown out of cars, litter that blows from surrounding areas into the waterways, illegal dumping, and this item really irks me – cigarettes left on the ground,” says Jana. “During a big rainstorm, all that junk ends up in the watershed, and some of it eventually makes its way down to the bays, harbors, marinas, beaches, and worse – onto our fragile coral reefs and into the stomachs of marine life (like fish and turtles) and shorebirds.”
Efforts are underway to rid our waterways of trash. In Baltimore, Maryland, two (rather cute) trash wheels are pulling debris from the harbor before it flows into Chesapeake Bay. “Mr. Trash Wheel” (male) and “Professor Trash Wheel” (female with eyelashes) are solar and hydro-powered trash interceptors in place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Over a million pounds of trash has been pulled out of the water by Mr. Trash Wheel since it was installed in May 2014 (Professor Trash Wheel was installed in December 2016).
John Kellett (a true ECO-HERO!) invented the trash wheels and tracks the debris collected. Since May 2014, when Mr Trash Wheel went operational, almost nine million cigarette butts and over 300,000 plastic bags have been collected. Additionally, Mr. Trash Wheel picks up an average of 14,000 Styrofoam containers a month – second only to cigarettes.
Kellett echoes Jana’s thoughts that the problem starts on shore. “I thought we were being ambitious with the harbor, but now people are talking about cleaning up the ocean,” Kellett said. “But I think the most effective solution is to get the trash before it gets there.”
No matter where you live, you CAN make a difference and help protect our natural resources. Let’s review some simple steps we can all take:
What do I hope will happen? I look forward to the day that Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel are forced to take days off because there is no debris for them to clean up!
If you are ready to make a difference, text HERO to 305-720-7245 and we’ll send you an “Eco-Hero” tote bag – just like the ones Jana carries with her and also uses at boat shows. It’s Jana’s gift to you – from Jana and our team at 1-800 Yacht Charters!
This entry was posted in News Educational and tagged eco-totes, Baltimore, random acts of kindness, tourism, Maryland, Be the Change, trash in marinas, say no to plastic bags, solar, responsibility, feel the churn, eco-hero, be a role model, Mr. Trash Wheel, myth busting, John Kellett, Professor Trash Wheel, protect the ocean, female trash wheel, free gift, eco-tote, styrofoam, karma, RAK, cigarette butts, Yacht Shows, good karma, Yachts Miami Beach Show, fishing line, ocean plastic, hydro-powered, Make A DifferencePosted on