After Irma, environmental groups mobilize to clean up debris — on shore and streets – Miami Herald
Hurricane Irma turned streets into rivers, snapped trees in half, displaced thousands and hit South Florida’s infrastructure with thousands in damages.
While the storm bombarded the roads with debris and swept sand from the beaches, it also sparked a change in some of Miami’s top environmental nonprofits, which modified their goals and event schedules post Irma.
Organizations, like Miami Waterkeeper, were “inundated with requests” from volunteers after Irma, director Kelly Cox said.
“Major storms, like Irma, create a paradigm shift in the giving culture in the community that’s impacted,” Cox said. “Not only do you see a lot of folks mobilize on the volunteer front, but you see folks give financially.”
After Hurricane Irma, Miami Waterkeeper and the City of Miami Parks Department hosted a clean-up at Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove. Volunteers collected more than 1,350 pounds of trash and storm debris, considerably more than the 200 to 300 pounds they would normally collect.
Waterkeeper’s first cleanup after the storm was in Coconut Grove’s Kennedy Park in late September, where more than 100 volunteers picked up 1,400 pounds of trash, seagrass and decaying marine life brought in by Hurricane Irma. The average amount of trash Waterkeeper collects on a cleanup is around 200 to 300 pounds, Cox said.
“She was kind of a blessing in disguise,” she said, referring to Irma. “There was a shift in our programming which will continue with the next two months. It’s been pretty significant.”
The second cleanup was at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove, before the property reopened to visitors. Waters from the storm reached the