On a personal note - many of you are aware that the kayak I use to cleanup trash from the bay was stolen, and there was a tremendous outpouring of support from so many people wanting to help me find a new one. I was fully planning on purchasing another newer better one myself, but 3 very dear friends who so believed in what I am doing sent unsolicited contributions which covered the cost of my new kayak and an electric motor to help me continue and improve my efforts. I am so incredibly humbled by their generosity, belief in me, and kind words about how much my work inspires them. This past weekends cleanup is dedicated to these very dear friends who probably don't want to be publically named. If anyone else wants to help, they can grab a few friends and I will help organize / host a trash cleanup - which is ultimately what this is all about anyway. I am debating a name for my new kayak now. I have come up with 'Change Maker', 'Trash-Yak', or 'Guardian of the Bay'. 'White Trash' and 'Ecoyak' were also possibilities. Standby for the final decision.
In a major win for environmental activists (including myself, Michael DeFilippi, Surfrider SoFla, and Biscayne Bay Water Keepers), The City of Miami Beach has voted UNANIMOUSLY to ban Polystyrene food takeout containers from Miami Beach parks and sidewalk cafes. City vendors and restaurants that operate on city sidewalks cannot use the product. The ban was sponsored by Commissioner Michael Grieco who said "“It’s terrible for the environment, it blows around the city, it breaks up, the chemicals are harmful, the wildlife and our fish … eat these things, and it’s time to get with the program". Miami Beach is the first city in Florida to enact such a prohibition. We even made the evening news : http://www.local10.com/news/commissioners-to-give-final-vote-on-banning-styrofoam-in-miami-beach/27110242
When you go to a doctor complaining of chest pains, he will say you probably have clogged arteries. But he won't know how bad it is until he cracks open your chest and sees the arteries. Well, someone video'ed the workers repairing one of the storm drains here in Miami Beach - and HOLY MOLEY !!!.. Watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmKB4TpFjaE
I shared this with the city and they will be installing a pilot of 3 storm drain grating covers to make sure they don't block the flow of water.
Had a good day lobbying the City of Miami Beach with my allies Michael DeFilippi, Surfrider SoFla, and Sean 'Birdman' Gould (Birdmans Trash Initiative) to ban Polystyrene (similar to Styrofoam) Take Out containers and cups. As usual, I decided to bring visual aids - 2 shopping bags full of foam that I picked up in one little area of the canal shoreline on my way to the commission meeting (I always know where I will find trash).
Hit READ MORE to see the video and pictures I brought..
Commissioner Michael Grieco recently presented Doebler with a key to the city to thank him for bringing the issue to the city’s attention. “This is garbage that pollutes our waters, that clogs our drainage system for flooding,” Grieco said. “This is something that I have taken to heart, that we as a commission have decided that we’re going to make it a huge priority.” Grieco added: “Mother Nature gave us a 10 when it comes to Miami Beach, and we’ve turned it into a six. And we have the responsibility to bring it back up.” Mayor Levine commented "By the way, David wants to have screens put in front of all the drains on the street which would stop the trash from going down...what do you call them...gratings. I think we should name them Doebler Grates."
Video of my Mayor and Commissioners awarding me the Key to the City along with their comments on my work - fast forward to minute 34 of the "March 12th" meeting video here : http://web.miamibeachfl.gov/mbtv77/scroll.aspx?id=52532
Dave Doebler presents his findings to the Mayors Special Flood Committee that "Clogged Storm Drains Are Contributing to Street Flooding"which correlates trash from the street level contributing to the major flooding issue the city is preparing to spend up to $400 million on fixing. Until now, no one has discovered that the existing storm drains aren't allowing water to flow out because they are clogged with trash and not cleaned frequently.
Watch Video of the Flood Mitigation Committee from February 19, 2014 (Video 1 of 1) - starts as minute 0:35 : https://web.miamibeachfl.gov/mbtv77/scroll.aspx?id=78278
See the full slide deck preso :
NPR's "If I Were Mayor" project : NPR asked Doebler what he would do if he was in charge of his town. Now, after the elections, NPR is taking Doeblers ideas to the mayors. NPR spoke to Philip Levine, who was sworn in as the new mayor ofMiami Beach Monday, Nov. 25.
Q; Another area we heard a lot about was litter:
Levine: I’ve met Dave. He’s done some great work. One of the things I would propose is to begin having our hotels educate our tourists about the fact that we will not permit littering on beaches. And of course making it more of the hotels' responsibility for their guests, that if there’s litter on the beach with the hotel logo on it, they’re going to be responsible for that litter.
Q: So is that going to require a change in the laws so you could fine the hotels?
Levine: I’m not sure that punitive is the way to go. Remember their beach is our beach, that’s how they sell their rooms with a clean beautiful beach. But I think that encouraging them to educate their guests will make the beaches a lot cleaner. And we in turn need to be responsible to educate our residents that we cannot tolerate trash. Dave’s suggestion, a can on every corner, is a great suggestion.
Full Article : http://wlrn.org/post/miami-beach-mayor-philip-levine-responds-your-ideas
Listen to Doeblers NPR Interview : https://soundcloud.com/wlrn/if-i-were-mayor-of-miami-beach
Dave Doebler presents his Trash in the Waterways research to the Oceanfront Protection Committee (Oct 7) and Sustainability Committee (Oct 15). Doebler has been doing weekly kayak cleanups in the same stretch of canal for 6 months quantifying and photo documenting the problem. Commissioner Jerry Libbin (Chair of the Sustainability Committee) applauds Doeblers efforts and did something for the first time he has wanted to do for the past 6 years - walk up to a citizen picking up a piece of litter and giving them a dollar bill, his business card, and a personal Thank You from his commissioner. He didn't have a $1 bill, so a $5 bill had to do...
See the full slide deck preso :