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South Beach debris courtesy of Boca Save Our Beaches

Boca Save Our Beaches DIY cleanups start today through Nov. 1 on Boca’s public beaches.

“We missed the International Coastal Cleanup last weekend since we weren’t allowed,” said founder and president Jessica Gray. “Unfortunately, due to COVID, we were unable to host group cleanups to ensure our volunteers and the public’s health and safety.  So we decided to encourage people to DIY. We are asking ocean lovers everywhere to #CleanOn.

“This is our first time asking people to DIY, but plastic pollution will not go away on its own. We have to work together to clean it up. This year, two new forms of pollution are showing up in storm drains, parking lots and at the beach: PPE masks and latex gloves.”

Boca’s beach cleanup organization is also starting a friendly competition using hashtag #SoloCleanup. “You can participate as often as you’d like. We even have prizes for those who do the most,” Gray said.

Volunteers are asked to adhere to all local guidelines for mask wearing in public and social distancing. No gatherings more than 10 people are permitted at this time, she reminded beach cleaners. Register at https://www.bocasob.com/registration

Here’s eight steps from Boca Save Our Beaches for DIY cleanups:

  • Pick a location. They can be your favorite public beach.  Or choose a shoreline park or waterway by paddlecraft or even your own neighborhood. [Beaches in from of condos are private.]
  • Gather supplies. Disposable gloves, mask, closed-toed shoes, trash bag or bucket, reusable water bottle, hand sanitizer, sunscreen. Use a picker if you have one.
  • Download the Clean Swell app. It will ask for the type and how much trash you picked up. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/clean-swell/id985692119
  • Clean up safely. Don’t pick up sharp or dangerous objects. Be careful on rocks or dangerous terrain.
  • Record data. Follow steps in Clean Swell app. Take lots of photos.
  • Dispose of waste. Put your trash in or around trash bins. Don’t put bags or loose trash in overflow bins.
  • Sanitize. Carefully remove gloves. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Clean and sanitize gear.
  • Community service. For students to earn service hours, send app data to info@volunteercleanup.org Also send a photo of you and the trash you collect. You will receive a certificate.

“Volunteers can borrow supplies to clean up their neighborhood or waterways. Collect data on the Clean Swell app for giveaways, prizes and community service.  We ask volunteers to sign up at https://www.bocasob.com/registration for the cleanup season. That runs until Nov. 1 and submit data and pictures to us,” Gray said.

By Marci Shatzman

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