Matheson Hammock Shoreline Cleanup

by 4ocean Team December 18, 2018

Matheson Hammock Shoreline Cleanup

 

Check out the results of a record-breaking community cleanup! 

 Matheson Hammock is a beautiful park located just south of Coral Gables, FL. It's most known for its manmade atoll, which is especially popular among families. Along with its spectacular ocean views featuring a distant Miami skyline, the park is also well known for its unique mangrove trails which is where the majority of our cleanup efforts were focused.

 

4ocean Bracelets

 

Why mangroves matter to people

It is important to first understand just how important mangroves are not only to young marine life but also for us humans. Did you know that mangroves can reduce wave activity by as much as 50%? When large storms such as hurricanes roll through, there is significantly less damage to coastlines that have mangroves when compared to coastal communities that do not have mangroves. Mangrove habitats also help to diminish erosion from tides and strong storms.  

 

Why mangroves matter to the ocean

At Matheson Hammock, we found that mangroves help in another way that not as many people may be aware of: they trap ocean-bound trash. Their intricate and dense prop roots collect large amounts of trash. While it is fortunate that the mangrove forests in Matheson Hammock trap ocean-bound trash before it has a chance to make its way out to the open ocean, it is unfortunate because such large amounts of marine debris can disrupt and destroy these sensitive ecosystems, which are often referred to as "marine nurseries" because of all the baby marine animals that call it home.

 

What we found in the mangroves

Our team was joined by 512 participants who devoted their Saturday morning to make sure Matheson Hammock was much cleaner than when we arrived. As the morning progressed the pile of gathered marine debris grew larger and larger.

Participants in the cleanup found everything from small microplastics and cigarette butts, which we find at all our cleanups, to larger items like discarded buoys and ropes. We even found a refrigerator door!

Our 10' x 20' tarp was soon piled high from end to end with discarded fishing ropes, plastic PET bottles, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and broken off, treated wood planks with rusty nails. 

Many of the larger items were not able to be recycled; however, the buoys that are still in good condition will be repurposed and used in the marina and waters surrounding Matheson Hammock.

We pulled 5,120 pounds of plastic and trash in total. Of that, 454 pounds were recyclable material, which we brought back to our facility to be sorted, rinsed, and sent to our local recycling facility where it can be given new life. 

 

Why community cleanups are important

Our community cleanups are not only important for the marine environments that we help to protect and restore by removing the trash, but also for the local communities to be aware of the growing problem of marine debris and plastic pollution.

Out of the single-use plastic items collected from this particular shoreline cleanup, there were:

  • 1,553 plastic PET bottles
  • 555 plastic straws
  • 812 plastic bags
  • 2,893 plastic bottles caps.

That's right! Nearly 3,000 bottle caps. Can you imagine what that many bottle caps look like? We couldn't either until we saw it: 

 

4ocean Bracelets

 

What you can do to help

While stopping plastic pollution is a big job, there are quick and easy changes we personally make to stop the most common types of plastic pollution. Plastic bottles (and their caps!) are some of the most common items we find during our cleanups.

Switching to a reusable bottle (like this one) is not only easy, it's also an improvement over plastic bottles because they can keep drinks hot or cold much longer than plastic can.

 

4ocean Shop Page - 4ocean Bracelets - Ocean Bracelet



4ocean Team
4ocean Team

Author





Also in Blog

Meet Our Partner: Project Seahorse
Meet Our Partner: Project Seahorse

by 4ocean Team October 30, 2019


Founded in 1996 by Dr. Amanda Vincent and Dr. Heather Koldewey, Project Seahorse aims to secure a world where marine ecosystems are healthy and well-managed. Their focus on saving seahorses, securing the world's shallow seas, and training conservationists to continue this important work is what they're all about. Check out some more of the great work they are doing inside. 

Continue Reading →

In the News - Log 4: Plastic Around the World
In the News - Log 4: Plastic Around the World

by 4ocean Team October 23, 2019

From plastic rain to the world's largest beach cleanup to an ambitious plan to phase out single-use plastics, we've scoured the headlines for the newest and most noteworthy stories related to the ocean plastic crisis. Let's take a look inside.  

Continue Reading →

Small and Mighty: Seahorses
Small and Mighty: Seahorses

by 4ocean Team October 03, 2019

Seahorses are one of the most endearing, mystical, and beloved of all marine animals. Their strange shapes, vastly different appearances, and unique locomotion have mystified humans for centuries. To this day, however, our base of knowledge surrounding these amazing creatures is still relatively limited and we are just now really beginning to understand the depths of their existence. Read on to learn more about seahorses and the many threats they face.

Continue Reading →