Clean water advocates pour on the pressure

Posted at 10:37 PM, Feb 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 07:20:02-05
Nearly a hundred protestors lined the Matanzas Pass Bridge Saturday afternoon demanding state leaders and big industry answer for pollution concerns around the state.
"I've been in this fight myself for 20 years now," said John Heim with the group Southwest Florida Clean Water.  "For 10 years now I've vowed to make the importance of water quality as popular as football."
Zack Motal knows just how important clean water is.  Last April he was swimming on Ft. Myers Beach when a flesh eating bacteria entered his body through a cut on his toe.
"I didn't pay the ultimate price, but I paid a big one losing my leg."
Motal and others are not just concerned about the pollution coming from Lake Okeechobee, they also worry about the role big sugar and other industries have in polluting the state's waterways.
"We are %100 tourism, without clean water, we don't have tourism," said Heim.
Heim says state leaders can help by fast tracking the C-43 reservoir project approved in 2014.  He says it would help reduce unnatural levels of freshwater in the Caloosahatchee once water is released from Lake Okeechobee.  
"We have to get out of the dark ages, and say, look we're poisoning our communities because we want to save a few dollars."
Heim is also calling on Ft. Myers Beach Mayor Anita Cereceda to put QR codes on all beach access signs so visitors can use their smart phones to check water quality.