People Leave 6,000kg Of Rubbish On Florida Beaches After Lockdown Measures Ease
People dropped more than 6,000 kg (13,000 lbs) of rubbish on the sands of Cocoa Beach in Florida after lockdown measures were eased.
It's been less than a month since the city's beaches reopened but officials say they are now having to put their foot down to stop the litter problem from escalating.
Cocoa Beach Police have warned visitors that if they're seen dropping rubbish, they could be hit with a $250 (£202) fine.
A statement released by the force said: "As restrictions are becoming more relaxed during this pandemic, the City of Cocoa Beach is beginning to see an influx of day-trippers to our beaches, along with piles of unlawfully discarded trash in their wake.
"This will not be tolerated."
And while police officers will have to see someone litter in order to be able to issue a fine, they have asked members of the public to continue to get in touch with them and report any littering they see.
Chief Scott Rosenfeld added: "Our community works very hard to be stewards of environmental sustainability.
"If I need to reallocate critical resources during our peak season to combat litterers, we are no longer asking our visitors to comply with our litter laws, we expect it, and there will be consequences for offenders."
This comes as local volunteer group, Keep Brevard Beautiful, which picks up trash from beaches across the city, noticed a steep increase in the amount of junk being left by visitors.
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According to the group, their members collected 297 bags of waste over three days - 33 bags on Friday, 122 on Saturday, and 142 on Sunday.
KBB deputy director Bryan Bobbitt said there is a clear ecological impact from the amount of litter being left behind and asked visitors to please take it with them once they leave.
He said: "When we see something that can be a choking hazard to marine life, we make it a point to get that stuff as well.
"If we don't pick it up, it gets blown into the water. We've all seen the photo of the straw stuck in a sea turtle's nose or a 6-pack ring around a bird's neck."
Mr Bobbitt went on: "Normally there is an uptick but what we've seen this past weekend is way above normal. It's equivalent to Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend.
"People need to understand if they leave trash on the ground a bird, fish or sea turtle could be killed by it. It's not just a blight issue it's an environmental issue all around."
Adding: "We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the beaches but pick up after yourself."
Yesterday, it was announced that coronavirus fines will rise to £100 ($123) this week after the UK government eased lockdown rules.
Featured Image Credit: PA