5th Annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup scores ton of trash

Kerry Dillon and Congressman Allen West offload the trash their team collected at Peck Lake. PHOTO CREDIT: Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast.

STUART, FL — The Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast (MIATC) conducted its fifth annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Over 900 volunteers participated collecting trash along the waterways of Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

Hot summer temperatures, did not deter. Both boaters and landlubbers from 20 different sites removed trash from 125 miles of waterways. The cleanup also included an offshore reef dive at Peck Lake, conducted by the Port Salerno Commercial Fishing Dock Authority and supported by the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative and Stuart Scuba. Kerry Dillon from Sea Rover Services hosted Congressman Allen West and his team on the Irish Rover.

“It was an honor to participate in the reef cleanup with so many dedicated divers. Our team collected around 200 pounds of rope, fishing nets and anchors,” said West. “Seeing firsthand the beauty of our Treasure Coast reefs only reinforces the importance of keeping them healthy and pristine for generations to come. We all have the responsibility to treasure our environment.”

St. Lucie County team coordinator Charlie Hayek shared, “This year we increased recycling efforts in all three counties thanks to a significant sponsorship from Waste Pro. Volunteers recorded 7.6 tons of trash. We also incorporated a new site this year at the Jaycee Park Boat Ramp and were pleased to record a turnout of 41 people working that site. Together we all made a big difference.”

Participants reported their findings on a data card. One of the more unusual items recorded was glass eye that was found at Peck Lake Reef Park by the Charmer team. Throughout the Treasure Coast, volunteer’s removed bicycles, batteries, air conditioner compressors, boat parts, barbecue grills, bottles, cans, thousands of feet of fishing line, and thousands of cigarette butts.

From Indian River County to Martin County, volunteers reported similar conditions from previous years. Data cards confirm less trash was collected, shared events coordinator April Price “We counted more volunteers and less trash, so I feel that we are making a difference.”

The Marine Industries Association of theTreasure Coast, Inc. (MIATC) is a not-for-profit trade association representing recreational marine businesses in Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River and Okeechobee counties. MIATC is dedicated to the promotion of pleasure boating and s related industries.