It all started with an ordinary walk on the beach. Sophie Ringel, a Miami Beach local, was walking along taking in the fresh air, the sights and sounds of the ocean, when she started seeing plastic waste and began picking it up. But there was just too much of it for one person to handle.
Fortunately, she saw another girl up ahead picking up trash as well. The two connected and before they parted ways, agreed to meet each other again to clean up the beach as a team. Within a few weeks, their efforts turned into six volunteers. Not long after, it turned into thirty.
And so it began – In March 2019, Ringel founded Clean Miami Beach. A 501c3 non-profit organization, its goal is to provide a clean and safe environment for human residents and visitors as well as marine wildlife by protecting the beautiful beach and wetlands in the Miami Beach community.
A Quintessential Start-Up
While Clean Miami Beach is a volunteer organization, it’s not unlike the many successful start-ups that have become so prevalent in today’s economy. Sophie Ringel is young, and she offers a “product” the Miami Beach community needs – a healthier, safer environment. And like most start-ups, her operation began on a shoe-string budget.
Today, through ongoing engagement with the community, these organized volunteer cleanups have grown to include city officials, the Miami Beach Police Department, students, teachers, business owners–virtually anyone who is interested in caring for the local environment.
Clean Miami Beach’s Special Focus
It’s easy enough to see how collecting and safely disposing of discarded trash is a good thing to do. Properly disposing of sharp cans, glass and other unwelcome items makes the beaches and waterways safer, more attractive, and more enjoyable for everyone.
A special focus of Clean Miami Beach, however, is plastics. Single-use plastic cups, straws, food containers, and grocery bags are used for but minutes yet remain in the environment for 1,000 years. Left to deteriorate in the ocean, they never disappear, but simply turn into microscopic toxic particles that are consumed by fish, birds, and other wildlife, many of which are eventually consumed by humans. Marine animals also become entangled in plastics or suffocate on them when they mistakenly think they are food.
More To Be Done
Every volunteer organization requires funding, and Clean Miami Beach is no exception. Donations are gratefully accepted and are used to purchase cleanup supplies, to pay for insurances, permits, and educational materials, for promotional campaigns, and for website maintenance.
With your help, they’ll Clean Miami Beach, one plastic bag, one plastic straw, and one single-use plastic at a time.