We’ve all seen the benefits of the global lockdown; air quality has improved, smog and pollution have decreased, and animals have started encroaching into cities formerly bustling with humans. Hopefully, we can remember this new world order and continue to limit our impact on the planet when lockdown measures are relaxed and eventually removed. Sadly, that’s highly unlikely, if the precedent set in Florida is anything to go by.
Over 13,000 pounds of trash was picked up on from a Florida beach last weekend following lockdown relaxation, leading Cocoa Beach officials to crack down on littering, increasing fines and enforcement. Littering on Cocoa Beach can now fetch a $250 fine.
“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. This will not be tolerated.”
– Cocoa Beach Police Department
Keep Brevard Beautiful, a group of volunteers that organize trash pickups in the area has recorded a large increase in trash on the beaches compared to previous years. Last weekend saw a heavy influx of trash on the beaches.
Volunteers collected 33 bags of trash from Friday beachgoers, 122 bags for Saturday, and 142 for Sunday, equivalent to Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend. That overshadows the average of fewer than 10 bags a day while beach access was restricted due to coronavirus.
Florida has had 41,923 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,779 deaths.