South Florida Paddlers: Cleaning The Waterways, One Plastic Bottle At A Time

By Barbara Fox

September 2, 2021

“There is no better way to spend the day, than helping the environment, getting great exercise and having good conversations, with friends.”

Bryan Doe started kayaking and paddleboarding in the ocean and on a lake, which was sparkling and clean. “Imagine how shocked I was, when I moved to South Broward and began kayaking and paddleboarding at local lakes; the amount of trash on the shore, caught in the trees and in the water was unbelievable.”

He saw plastic bottles, straws, coffee cups, bags, containers, lots of other stuff that people just tossed overboard, because they didn’t want to take it home “or maybe, some of it fell overboard and they just didn’t notice,” said Bryan, giving them the benefit of the doubt. “Either way, the amount of trash, is unbelievable.”

He began taking a bag with him, when he went kayaking and paddleboarding. He started with a small bag, then two bags; now, he takes a 55-gallon bag and a bucket, when he gets back to shore, the bag and bucket, are always full. “People and families see me and my friends picking up trash; I’m hoping it will inspire them, educate them, especially, the kids, that dumping trash into the water, is bad and that every clean-up, can help.”

The county sends a boat weekly to clean-up but, according to Bryan, they could go out everyday and it wouldn’t be enough. The trash, some of which flows in from the ocean, is endless.

Bryan belongs to several groups, including the South Florida Paddlers, which did a clean-up recently, at Wilton Loop. They started at Sunrise Paddleboards and did the complete loop, around Wilton Manors. They are planning more clean-ups, at Whiskey Creek and at the C-10 Canal. The outings are informal; “I just tell a few people I’m going out, throw a couple of extra kayaks onto the roof of the car and anyone who wants to join me, joins me.”

The recent group, included: Michell Ball, Vanessa LaForte, Kent Hash and Victor Langarica, who brought his six-year-old daughter Natalie, along. She was a most enthusiastic trash collector, especially after Victor showed her “The waterway clean-up, touched my heart,” Vanessa posted on Facebook; Kent summed up the experience.

“There is no better way to spend the day, than helping the environment, getting great exercise and having good conversations, with friends.”

There are several groups in the area, that organize clean-ups; for more information, about the groups to contact: South Florida Paddlers on Facebook.