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Petition looks to prohibit pollution of Florida's waters by recognizing 'Right to Clean Water'

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 22:44:17-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Clean water for all.

That’s the message behind a new petition looking to make the 2022 ballot. With enough signatures, it could become an amendment to the state’s constitution.

“People want to go fishing! They want to go in the river- there are people in the river over there, they’re swimming! This restaurant over here on the water is super popular because you’re outside, you’re looking at the river, it feels great. This is what people come to Florida for."

Joe Bonasia is with the Florida Rights of Nature Network. He serves as the vice chair and regional director. They started a petition, the Right to Clean Water, which looks to do exactly as its name implies- protect Florida’s waterways.

“It aim’s to amend our state constitution. It wants to do what the voters in Orange County did last November,” said Bonasia.

It’s a sight that we here in Southwest Florida may take for granted. Beach goers viewing a sea of blue water crashing along shores. Last election day, 89% of voters in Orange County were in favor of the amendment and thus, passing the charter.

“That law gave every citizen in Orange County the right to clean water and it gave their waterways some basic rights," says Bonasia. "The right to exist, the flow to be free of pollution because nothing else has worked.”

Florida Rights of Nature Network was organized in 2020. The petition, itself, is only a week old. But it’s arriving, as Bonasia says, at a good time. A time when Southwest Florida waterways have been threatened by a sudden surge in blue-green algae.

“Right now, here on Cape Coral, we are looking over our shoulder again for fear that we are going to have another blue-green algae bloom like we had in 2018 and 2016,” he says.

The petition is looking to get 900,000 signatures by the end of this upcoming November. That will put the amendment on the ballot for all Floridians to vote on. At that point, it will be in the Voters’ hands.

“How do you argue against clean water?" said Bonasia. "You can’t.”

And Bonasia said the easiest way to help out is by signing the right to clean water petition. You can find that petition and more information online right here.