Spring break is not a time for marring beaches

Maytinee Kramer/ Assistant Opinion Director

Last year, Miami Beach hosted Floatopia, an event where people float and relax on rafts along the coast and mingle on the beach.

The aim was to provide something fun and different for Miami, and while the event might have promoted good vibes and good people coming together to connect, the event was disastrous for the environment.

There are psychological benefits of various types of natural scenes, and as new research shows, those benefits are taken away by trashing the environment.

The aftermath of the event looked like a scene straight out of “Sharknado.” The coastline was nothing but a trashed beach covered in discarded rafts, bottles and cans left behind by thousands of people.

Despite many posts reminding attendees to clean up after themselves, volunteers, city and county crews were left to clean up the huge mess until 11 p.m. that day and then at 6 a.m. the following day.

Miami officials and environmental groups were outraged over the trashed beach, and as a result, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioner Michael Grieco vowed to ban future Floatopias to protect the environment.

Even Floatopia Miami wrote on the group’s Facebook page: “The level of disrespect shown on our beach yesterday was unimaginable. Thank you to everyone who clean up after themselves but unfortunately, this time, you were the minority. We refuse to be associated with this kind of behavior and much less will we facilitate an event that hurts a city and beach that we love.”

As spring break once again approaches, students should be reminded that it’s just as important to look after the environment as it is to have fun. Humanity is badly damaging the oceans, with 8 million metric tons of plastic filling them annually, according to the Washington Post.

A recent study in Environment and Behavior states that coastal or water-related scenes have psychological benefits, giving a “restorative” sense of being while helping unburden the brain by relieving stress.

While we know that littering can have detrimental effects on the environment, Kayleigh Wyles of Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK told the Washington Post that it can also “have an impact on individuals’ health and well being.”

A study conducted by Wyles found that respondents said that images of litter disrupted or interfered with the pleasingness, and they also expressed anger or sadness. Nobody wants to see a trashed beach let alone spend a day there.

I agree with the decision to ban Floatopia. Aside from keeping the beach clean and looking after the environment, taking away such an event should teach people to pick up after themselves and take responsibility for their actions.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

Photo taken from Flickr.

About the Author

Maytinee Kramer
Call me May. I’m a senior double majoring in Asian studies and broadcast media and minoring in international relations. I’m a K-pop and Disney junkie, but I also enjoy watching anime and cosplaying. Some of my favorite shows are “Once Upon a Time,” “Supernatural,” and “Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma” while my favorite music artists are 2PM, GOT7, DEAN and Eddy Kim. After college, I hope to work as a news anchor, but I’d eventually like to host a show/segment that focuses on traveling. I am fluent in Thai and currently learning Japanese and Korean.

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