The coronavirus pandemic issued closures of many public places including the beaches. In Florida, the beaches were closed for visitors, but on April 2 the restrictions were little bit reduced meaning that people can use them only for walking, fishing, swimming, jogging, cycling, and surfing. Sunbathing and sitting on the beaches were completely forbidden.
The beaches in Florida fully reopened on April 21, 2020, but after their reopening they have become so much packed with litter that the police even intends to force litter laws.
Cocoa Beach is one of the beaches in Brevard County, Florida that reopened on April 21, 2020, and the City Manager Courtney Barker asked Brevard County residents’ to “strong compliance” of the issued regulations. In a Facebook post it was written: “The City would like to thank our community for continuing to abide by the social distancing measures we have put in place at our beaches to safeguard our residents during this pandemic response.”
The visitors of Cocoa Beach are obliged to practice social distancing, and there is also a ban on alcohol use at the beach. The public beach parking stays closed for the time being, and the ones that will park illegally will be fined with a sum of $500.
Visitors Returned to the Beaches and So Did the Trash
The quarantine time was awful for most of us, and once the beaches reopened all of us wanted to go somewhere in nature like the nearby beaches. Many people visited the Cocoa Beach to enjoy the warm sunshine and sand. However, there were also other non-residents and most of them were not conscientious and have left 13,000 pounds of trash on the weekend of May 9. The volunteers collected the trash and weighed it.
The police department of Cocoa Beach has blamed the non-Cocoa Beach residents for this increase of litter on the beach.
The Cocoa Beach Police Department wrote in a notice.
“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.”
Keep Brevard Beautiful deputy director Bryan Bobbitt stated that this amount of litter is not common for the beach. He reported to the USA Today:
“Normally there is an uptick but what we’ve seen this past weekend is way above normal. It’s equivalent to Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend.”
Leaving behind garbage is really bad, but one should consider the fact that is really bad for the environment as well. The left trash could be eaten by the animal life on the beach and that may kill them.
“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.”
The Cocoa Beach police department intends to enforce litter laws warning the unconscientious visitors of the beaches that the fine for littering would be $250.
Chief Scott Rosenfeld reported to USA Today:
“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.”
Bobbit believes that people will come to their senses and that they will avoid leaving trash on the beaches. Additionally, he encourages them to take both trash and recyclables home with them.
“We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the beaches, but pick up after yourself.”