The easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions has brought about a familiar old problem – people leaving behind their trash on beaches.
Around the world, lockdowns have been beneficial to the environment – fewer people and cars moving around have resulted in less litter and less air pollution.
But it seems that as soon as lockdown restrictions are even partially lifted, people quickly revert to type.
It’s been particularly bad at Florida’s Cocoa Beach, where on one weekend alone, that of May 1, over 13,000 pounds of trash was picked up.
Cocoa Beach was one of several Brevard county beaches which reopened on April 21. Sunbathing, sitting in chairs and ‘all other activities within city limits during the coronavirus pandemic’ are allowed. Groups must be limited to five or fewer people.
‘Lack of care from the public’
Just an absolute gut punch to see the lack of care from the public.https://t.co/PoOICttYFS
— Sea Voice News (@seavoicenews) May 11, 2020
With the majority of Spring Break revelers no longer around, beaches have not been overly packed. Yet those who have been enjoying the sun and sea have managed to leave behind a hefty amount of rubbish.
The Cocoa Beach Police Department are trying to address the issue.
“As restrictions are becoming more relaxed during this pandemic, the City of Cocoa Beach is beginning to see an influx of day-trippers to our beaches, along with piles of unlawfully discarded trash in their wake,” read a press release.
“As our busy call volume allows, Cocoa Beach Police Officers and Beach Rangers will be focusing on litter violations in the days and weeks ahead in an effort to educate the public and mitigate this repulsive and disrespectful behavior. Parking Enforcement Specialists and other ‘eyes and ears’ will assist in this effort.”
Bryan Bobbitt, Deputy director of volunteer group Keep Brevard Beautiful, said that before the lockdown was lifted, less than 10 bags of trash a day were being collected. On Saturday 2 May and Sunday 3 May, 264 bags of litter were picked up.
“What we’ve seen this past weekend is way above normal,” Bobbitt said. “It’s equivalent to Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend.
“People need to understand if they leave trash on the ground a bird, fish or sea turtle could be killed by it. It’s not just a blight issue, it’s an environmental issue all around,” he added.
Image credit: Valentyna Zhukova
Edit (23 July, 2020): The headline has been updated – to change the word ‘Litter’ to ‘Garbage’. This is to reflect that some of the 13,000 pounds of trash which was collected came from the bins on the beach.