Returning Florida Beachgoers Left 13,000 Pounds Of Trash On One Beach

Floridians celebrating the loosening of the state's safer-at-home order marked the first major occasion by flocking to what beaches were open over Mother's Day weekend.

For Cocoa Beach, on Florida's Space Coast, the crowds brought life back to the recently barren sands, but as WKMG reported, they brought something else with them as well, and left it behind: about 13,000 pounds of trash.

Officials in Cocoa Beach have announced a crackdown on litter following the Mother's Day weekend.

In a notice, Cocoa Beach police wrote that the increase in trash had been noticed and enforcement, including fines of up to $250, would be increasing.

"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," the notce read, according to Florida Today. "This will not be tolerated."

Volunteer organization Keep Brevard Beautiful say they typically pick up 10 bags of trash or fewer on a given day.

Facebook | Keep Brevard Beautiful

However, over Mother's Day weekend, the group said they collected 33 bags from Friday, 122 bags from Saturday, and 142 bags from Sunday, Florida Today reported.

"Normally there is an uptick, but what we’ve seen this past weekend is way above normal," said KBB's Bryan Bobbitt. "It's equivalent to Fourth of July or Memorial Day weekend."

As Bobbitt noted, the trash isn't just an eyesore or an odorous nuisance.

Facebook | Keep Brevard Beautiful

"People need to understand if they leave trash on the ground a bird, fish or sea turtle could be killed by it. It’s not just a blight issue, it’s an environmental issue all around," he said.

However, Bobbitt is still encouraging Floridians to enjoy the state's beaches. "We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the beaches but pick up after yourself," he said.

Officers must see littering happen first-hand to issue a citation.

Facebook | Keep Brevard Beautiful

But officials still want people to report littering if they see it.

"Our community works very hard to be stewards of environmental sustainability," Cocoa Beach Police Chief Scott Rosenfeld said. "If I need to reallocate critical resources during our peak season to combat litterers, we are no longer asking our visitors to comply with our litter laws, we expect it, and there will be consequences for offenders."

h/t: Florida Today, WKMG

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