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International Coastal Clean-up: Shocking Discoveries

On Saturday, September 15, 2018 groups from all over the world headed to the shorelines to participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up, an initiative that focuses on “harnessing the power of people to fight ocean trash”.  Several organizations could be found combing the beaches all over Florida.
The Sol Margin Fishing and Conservation Foundation (SMFCF), a local nonprofit based out of St. Augustine, posted up at Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Vedra—one of the most popular beaches in St. Johns County—to help in the Ocean Conservancy’s mission.  Over 100 volunteers answered the call to clean and arrived ready to be put to work.  Groups covered the parking lot at Mickler’s Landing, as well as explored the beaches north and south of the landing, picking up any trash along the way.  Participants then logged their findings on the Clean Swell App that tracks the type of trash collected as well as converts it to pounds to help record data that is then sent to the Ocean Conservancy for research.
Volunteer groups were surprised to find that the beach had been contaminated with millions of microplastic threads that littered the sandy beaches.  Additionally, upon closer examination of the waterline, fiberglass debris was also in abundance.  Participants collected several bags full but it was almost impossible to gather such tiny particles that had saturated such a large area.  One volunteer hypothesized that the debris could have come from Hurricane Florence, while others were left to their own conclusions.  Seeing this type of manmade waste in our environment was disheartening, but through clean-ups such as this one, even a little effort can make a big impact.
The President of SMFCF, Sam Baker, states that “the whole reason we are out here is so that we can make a difference.  If not a huge environmental impact, we can at least instill a since of responsibility to our youth and next generations, teaching them to be good stewards of their environment.  I am so glad to see such a diverse group come together.  We have families here with small children, students from St. Johns Virtual School, Girl Scout troops, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as, corporations-Hoegh Autoliners—to all come out with a common goal.”

If you would like to participate in SMFCF’s monthly environmental projects, you can find their events posted on their website: or off of

Watch video of the event and the discovery of microfibers!