We are a fast paced tropical community where waste materials circulate faster than we can keep up with. With the beach as our backyard and sun in our everyday forecast, being on the sand and in the ocean is our thing. Scorching hot beach days call for cold refreshments wrapped in plastic that usually gets left behind and into the ocean, which we all end up swimming next to—gross.

If the beach is our home, then we should treat it that way. And even if you don’t leave the trash behind, others do. Just think of all the people that travel from around the world to visit our beautiful beaches. The keyword here is “visit.” As welcoming hosts we want the guests to enjoy the city and have no choice but to accept the responsibility of keeping the place clean. But do you actually know who works to get the cleaning job done?

Dara Schoelnwald is a Miami girl who has the answers. She is a local environmentalist and the co-founder of VolunteerCleanup.org — a community organization that coordinates coastal cleanups and raises environmental awareness to protect our beaches and the ocean.

Dara and her partner Dave Doebler started the organization after the futile personal attempts to clean the beaches of the garbage. At first, they attended massive beach cleanups and led their own cleanup at the yearly International Coastal Cleanup Day, but soon they realized that “the constant flow of garbage required a different strategy.”

Dara Schoenwald Mimai Beaches

They created a platform where people could build teams, communicate with each other, and organize their own events. The website is perfect for volunteers looking to contribute a couple hours here and there, for students and business organizing local cleanups.

So to answer your question: grab a bag, call up some friends, put on gloves, and go clean up your beach.

You are responsible.

Rachel Tellez
Rachel Tellez

A #MiamiGirl who studies English and Professional Writing at Barry University. "Stay positive, work hard, and make it happen." www.thewanderinglocal.com

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