Sun Sentinel: Annual Broward waterway cleanup nets tons of trash March 9, 2015

Sheets of plastic, busted chairs, remnants of beverage coolers and even an expensive brassiere from Victoria’s Secret were among the tons of trash pulled from Broward waterways Saturday in what organizers call the county’s largest and longest-running environmental event.

More than 2,000 volunteers took part in the 38th annual Broward County Waterway Cleanup. Some braved heat, leg-scratching briars and mangrove barriers to rid shorelines and canal banks of washed-up debris.

“It wasn’t easy but it was really fun,” said Katie Stevenson, 15, a member of the team from Nova High School’s Engineering Club that worked the north bank of the Dania Cut in Dania Beach.

“It is crazy to realize how badly we treat our environment, to see so much trash that’s out there,” Stevenson said. “It feels good to help.”

The cleanup, sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, in partnership with the Marine Industry Cares Foundation, took place in 30 locations. Cleanup spots ranged from Hallandale Beach to Deerfield Beach, and out west to Coral Springs, according to Sharon Abramson, an association spokeswoman.

The group of 20 teens and parents with Nova’s Engineering Club left from Derecktor Shipyard in Dania Beach aboard a float towed to the cleanup site by the Gosling, a small tugboat.

After a few hours work, the group returned with 10 cubic yards of trash stowed in plastic bags, said Galloway Selby, a Derecktor project manager who piloted the tug.

Among Nova students who fought their way through the weeds and mangroves to reach floating plastic bottles, rotting tennis balls and discarded women’s clothing were Alvaro Pena, 18, Jose Sandoval, 18, Schwanz Richtofen, 18, Anthony Lundberg, 18, and Natalie Gadelrab, 16.

All would receive community service credit for their efforts, Gadelrab said.

After the morning’s work, participants headed to the Trash Bash at Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate with food, beverages, live music and raffle prizes.

The Marines Industries Association also awarded cash prizes of up to $500 to winners of competitions in story and essay writing and creation of art fashioned from recycled materials, Abramson said.

In Palm Beach County, a similar event called the Great American Cleanup is scheduled for April 18. For information visit


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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733