FORT MYERS, Fla. — Today is the 17th annual World Oceans Day, and community members gathered to celebrate the occasion.
With a little music and a few beers at Millennial Brewing in Downtown Fort Myers, activists were hoping to spread the message.
“Without clean water, all life on planet earth just doesn’t exist,” said Carl Deigert, President of Matlacha Civic Association.
But our oceans are continuously seeing plastic dumped into them. A 2016 study by the World Economic Forum estimates more than eight million metric tons of plastic finds its way into the ocean every single year.
“We’ve got marine life dying from ingesting straws and plastic bags, it’s a crisis, and we have our waterways being gradually contaminated by human activity,” said Casey Schulberg, executive director of Calusa Waterkeeper.
Groups like Calusa Waterkeeper wanted to bring awareness to not just the polluted oceans, but also the rivers and estuaries that need protection.
Florida Rights of Nature is another group fighting for that protection to give the Caloosahatchee River its own Bill of Rights.
“Through that, we are going to give the Caloosahatchee River the same rights of any person and probably more important, the same rights of any corporation. It can represent itself in court and protect itself from abuse and pollution,” Diegert said.
Another group, Ocean Habitats, is working to build one thousand human-made reefs across Southwest Florida.
“A unit we call the mini-reef which replicates mango-trees. It restores the natural ecosystems underneath boat docks,” Wolff said.
Below is a list of links for the following groups mentioned in the story:
Calusa Waterkeeper’s website: https://calusawaterkeeper.org/
Matlacha Civic Association: https://www.facebook.com/mcastrong/
Ocean Habitats: https://www.oceanhabitatsinc.com/
Florida Rights of Nature: https://www.facebook.com/groups/344816439447069/