All that trash – the ugly side of kayaking in Miami!

Scratching underneath that glossy

Miami surface treatment!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality aerial panorama skyline

Looking good – from a distance!
Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay on a nice afternoon. The barge home is no longer there.
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Miami is known worldwide for it’s natural beauty thanks it’s lush sub-Tropical setting and rich cultural heritage mix. Take for example the beautiful aerial panorama above of the city skyline and a tiny island in Biscayne Bay. That little island has been recently “renovated” with beautiful palm trees and a coral rock shoreline to prevent erosion. It’s right next to the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge and the ol’ Miami Marine Stadium.

Moving around to see the other side, however, things start to look a little bit different. As with many things Miami, we see that outward appearances can be deceiving. That beauty really is only skin deep because underneath the fancy Miami gloss surface treatment are pimples and blemishes made of trash and debris. Much of that trash is in the form of various kinds of plastic bottles, cups and other plastic coated containers/packaging.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fireworks fourth july

Clear waters of Biscayne Bay lap the shores of this pretty lil island just offshore.

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As a kayaker, trash is something I see a lot of for the simple reason that I often stop by and visit little islands, coves and other out of the way places that most power boaters just fly by at high speeds. In a way, I feel like a witness to how our society treats those places deemed less ‘important’ because few people see them. I am not alone in this, as most local paddlers soon discover. Getting out to see nature up close and in-your-face also means facing the remnants and discard streams pouring out of our intense urbanization.

Out of sight, out of mind? For some, and sadly, perhaps for many. It’s a reflection of our times!

This is the rather sad underlying reality of boating in Miami and much of South Florida in general.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality july 4th holiday

Put on a Happy Face ? with pimples made of trash – perhaps not! 😦

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So what can be done?

There are three easy and simple things that anyone and everyone can do.

1. Reduce the amount of plastic bottles and cups you use by buying larger quantities and refilling your re-usable bottles and containers.

2. Remove and recycle superfluous packaging at home and take out only what you will actually use.

  3. Simply clean up after yourself and leave no trace!

The last one bears repeating and is the most important:

In other words, pack out all of your trash!!

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It’s ironic that some of those who leave the most trash behind are also the ones best able to take their trash back out with them. These could be inconsiderate people in power boats and careless shoreline visitors in automobiles. This could also include some land fishermen who are notorious for leaving fishing line, bits of kit and fish guts behind! It’s almost as if these people think that somebody else will come along and clean up after them.

If you had the room to bring out all that stuff to begin with, you also have the room to take all that trash back with you and dispose of it properly!

I’m not singling out just fishermen and boaters per se. There are many conscientious and caring boaters that I know who take great pride in caring about the environment as they enjoy themselves on the water. However, the bad apples have spoiled it, and the overall picture unfortunately doesn’t look very good. In contrast, most kayakers and paddlers simply do not have the room to bring out the same amount of “stuff” and also tend to be more responsible in cleaning up after themselves. Another source of trash is via storm drainage culverts from the city that dump out into the bay. Casual litter and improperly disposed loose garbage are prone being wind blown and washed down into sewers, thereby depositing all that debris into the waters of Biscayne Bay!

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It gives me no pleasure to post these pictures of Miami!

Normally I post beautiful pictures and panoramas of Miami, the Everglades and the natural beauty of South Florida as I see it. However, this story is a reality check. It’s an attempt to help bring awareness to plastic pollution and marine debris that I witness locally. The problem, of course, is also a global one, and Miami is not unique. The same plague of trash has enveloped cities and coastlines around the world. It is a huge problem!

So between the story images I am including links to pertinent local and international organizations along with related reading you might be interested in. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list and is in no particular order. My apologies if I’ve left something out, but I think it a good start. Anyway I hope to encourage you to learn more and take part in local waterway cleanups!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fireworks fourth july

“July 4th aftermath”.
This is over a week later and the trash is still there!
I’m also seeing the lion’s face from the Wizard of Oz here .. but this is Biscayne Bay.

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Annual Baynanza cleanup

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fireworks fourth july

Looks like some folks had a nice time celebrating freedom but not personal responsibility!

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Debris Free Oceans

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fireworks fourth july

Rickenbacker Causeway, Rusty Pelican restaurant and trash remains on Biscayne Bay .

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Sea to Shore Alliance

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fireworks fourth july

Trash cans are all over flowing!

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Biscayne Bay Foundation

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura

“The Waiting” is always the hardest part!
For some reason the trash is VERY slow to get picked on this islet – if ever!

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Plastic Pollution Coalition

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

The never ending trash story!
The amounts of trash vary – I am using this island as an example, but other islands face similar problems.

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The Island that Miami Forgot – story of an island covered in trash

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality broken glass night basura

Trash on this island is not a new problem!
This is the same lil island before the “restoration”, at night, circa 2008.

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NOAA Marine Debris Program

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality panorama night basura

Trash-o-rama panorama sleep I don’t wanna!
Looks a lot like a waterway cleanup that never got picked up and subsequently re-dispersed itself back into Biscayne Bay! 😦
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Plastic Whale – a plastic fishing company

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura

Shoreline trash scene from popular Monument Island circa 2007.

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Ocean Conservancy

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

Monument Island is an island, therefore ALL this trash had to be brought in on boats!!
All of the trash should’ve left on the same vessels it came in on!

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VolunteerCleanUP.ORG

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality mangroves

“Biscayne Bay couples” – washed up on the mangrove lined shores of Key Biscayne.

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Miami Beach kayaker on a mission to clean up!

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oleta river kayakfari miami kayak aerial mangrove seedling panorama canoe park nature

Ibis-eye aerial view of a mangrove re-seedling project at Oleta River State Park.
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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Urban Paradise Guild

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

I’d go further and say to treat the island BETTER than your backyard!

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The Life and Death of Miami Coral

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura fisher island

A hardhat littering the shoreline of Norris Cut with Fisher Island in the background.

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Recycled marine debris products from Planet Love Life

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality broken glass

Broken glass pieces slowly integrating themselves into the Biscayne Bay shoreline.

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Stop plastic pollution!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

Marine debris trash includes everything from A to Z!

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Reef Relief Founders

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura

Fine China broken up and glass are among the most environmentally benign, aside from the risk of injury.

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Tips to keep Biscayne Bay clean

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

A too-common scene from the interior of a Biscayne Bay island. 😦

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Marine Debris Tracker

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

Notice the pattern? Plastic bottles and aluminum cans make up the bulk of the trash.

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A list of trash recently recovered from a nearby island

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality panorama

Trash-o-rama panorama of a trashed island in Biscayne Bay.
CLICK for interactive panoramic!

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Making the most and least of marine trash!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fishing line yoyo

Land fishermen get a bad rap because of the bad apples who carelessly leave behind their fishing line and kit! This “yo yo” is a prime example on Biscayne Bay.
Dispose of used fishing line and kit properly – marinas often have special disposal bins!

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FWC Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality fishing line death

This is the very sad result of carelessly discarded fishing line!
The Cormorant died a very slow death by starvation as a result of swallowing the line.

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Pelican Harbor Seabird Station

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“Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals –

the same fate awaits them both; as one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath.”

Ecclesiastes 3:19

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura fishing line death

This poor bird literally had his guts cruelly pulled out – a very slow death by hanging! 😦

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ReelCycle

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura condom beach seagull

Sex on the beach? Take your condom(s) with you – nobody wants to find this on the beach! Also, many people aren’t aware that sea water actually kills sperm!

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Marine Debris Info

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura condom

Que romántico, NOT!
The only good news is that this low life couple did not reproduce that day!

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Miami-Dade Water Quality Protection

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura diaper

Soiled diaper left on the beach.

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Water Pollution Facts

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality

The water is literally lapping up to this fast food bucket left behind on a beach.
The saddest part was seeing the sets of little footprints next to it, meaning that this was a family outing!

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The most interesting trash found on Miami streets

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura shoes zapatos

Your feet are the key to proper paddling posture!
CLICK for story!

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Restoration of the Florida Everglades

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality piano bar

Definitely one of the most unusual pieces of trash – a baby grand piano deposited on a sandbar in northern Biscayne Bay.
CLICK for story!

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Piano Sand Bar kayakfari miami kayak flex maslan mystery panorama trash marine debris Biscayne Bay paddling

The trashed baby grand piano did make for a neat photo op on Biscayne Bay.
CLICK for spin around 360 panorama!

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Salt Water Intrusion in Miami

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality tv piano bar

The “Piano Bar” made headlines around the world a few years back. I also happened to see it finally removed a couple of hours later!
CLICK for story!

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Southeast Florida’s Marine Debris Reporting and Removal Program

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura Christmas tree

Merry Christmas? Not such a happy new year when your old Christmas tree washes up on Biscayne Bay!

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Everglades Foundation

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality washed up aerial

“Washed up” on Biscayne Bay. This sailboat was salvaged.
CLICK for more Urban Paddling Aerial VR Panoramas!

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Ocean Futures Society

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura boat

Remains of a smashed up small boat littering another small island in Biscayne Bay.

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Cousteau Society

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura port tire

Big bumper tire from the Port of Miami now beach trash on Virginia Key beach at Norris Cut.

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River of Grass Canoe Expedition 2014

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality birthday balloon

Happy Birthday – is not so happy when this mylar balloon ends up back on earth and then in the water.
This is the one type of trash that can be found in the most remote places in the Everglades because this trash can fly!

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Miami Waterkeeper

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality river balloon

Picking up mylar balloons clogging up the Miami River.
CLICK for story – River of Grass Canoe Expedition 2014

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Miami River Commission

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality culvert river

Inside a culvert on the Miami River. These are the arteries that carry water and sometimes trash out to the sea!
CLICK for story!

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Local kayaker Dave Doebler of has documented trash he regularly removes from Miami Beach waterways:

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Documenting trash in Miami Beach waterways

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality river sewer drain basura

Trash and algae lining the banks of the Miami River Canal.
CLICK for story – River of Grass Canoe Expedition 2014

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Friends of Oleta River State Park

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality message bottle whiskey

A whiskey bottle found appropriately on Whiskey Creek (John U Lloyd State Park) in Dania.
CLICK for story!

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Love the Everglades Movement

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality hammock island glades camp

Trash is a problem anywhere people have easy access to these days!
This one from an tree island hammock in the eastern Everglades, ENP.
CLICK for story – Grass Paddling in the East Everglades Expansion Area

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5.25 trillion pieces of ocean trash from Nat Geo

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura toilet paper nest key

Bury your dump or use the provided port-a-potty! Nobody wants to see this!!
Disgusting scene from Nest Key in Florida Bay, a part of Everglades National Park.

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Eco Art Gallery by the Sea Proposal

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality beach 1990s

Beach trash on Miami Beach is not a new problem!
South Beach, circa 1990, but the littering goes back much further.

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Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches (ECOMB)

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality basura

Just taking your trash back out with you is really the most basic thing you can do!

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The 5 Gyres Institute – More Ocean, Less Plastic!

Marine debris and plastic pollution is truly a huge global problem. There are now actually five giant gyres, or swirling masses of accumulated plastic trash around the world, in every ocean!

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So far, all this has been trash that you can see, but there’s a lot more that can end up in our coastal waters and beaches. Stuff you can’t see and never want to see! Recently, due to heavy spring rainfall, bad politics and Lake Okeechobee water level management mandates, huge amounts highly polluted water have been released from the lake onto both coasts of South Florida. This has created a death zone of toxic algal blooms that will have serious and negative effects on the Everglades, Florida Bay and all of South Florida!

Biscayne Bay is infamous for sewage seepage and sewer line breaks. If you’re planning a paddle, be sure to check the water quality at: Florida Healthy Beaches Program (just select your county). Direct links to Miami-Dade County, Monroe County, Broward County and Palm Beach County beach sampling reports.

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Learn more about the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve and Happy Paddling!

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Urban Paddling Aerial VR Panoramas

Miami Biscayne Bay Florida kayak kayakfari island aerial birds eye kayakfari.com Flex Maslan photography

Aerial view paddling around Miami on beautiful Biscayne Bay at Pace Picnic Island near downtown Miami.
Let’s all cherish and protect this natural treasure!
CLICK for more interactive Urban Paddling Aerial VR Panoramas!

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There’s still a lot of beauty, and nature always regenerates itself.

If we can only keep from choking it!

I’ll finish this story on a positive note, back to the roots:

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Roots Paddling, Photography and the Roots on my head – South Florida’s coastal Mangroves!

Flex Maslan kayakfari Miami river trash Biscayne garbage Everglades kayak litter dumping pollution environment water quality seedling mangrove

There’s still a lot of beauty, and nature always regenerates itself – if we can only keep from choking it!
South Florida’s walking coastal Mangroves – Roots Paddling, Photography and Dreadlocks!
CLICK FOR STORY! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari.com rasta 420 happy kayakfari kayak canoe paddle photography adventure fitness awakenthegrass everglades florida

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© 2016 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com / decoratedreality.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved!

DISCLAIMER:: The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

With that said..
Blessings friends!

:)

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4 comments on “All that trash – the ugly side of kayaking in Miami!

  1. Pingback: Reality Check: All that trash and paddling in Miami! | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

  2. Pingback: Keep your feet firmly in the kayak and stay limber! | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

  3. Pingback: Spooky night time paddling and filming on the Miami River with ARTE (Euro TV) | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

  4. Pingback: Fourth of July 2017 – Independence Day with less trash, fun paddling and more art! | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

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