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Teen Uses Spring Break To Clean Up Beaches In Miami

Joshua Caraway, 19, who has been spending spring break in Miami, is enjoying his vacation but not without forgetting his responsibilities as a global citizen. The Atlanta native is in South Florida with friends but between laughs, he’s managed to find time to make a difference. Caraway spent last Saturday afternoon picking up trash left by careless beachgoers and quickly filled up three trash bags.

“Even though I’m on vacation, I still can help out,” he told WSVN. Despite his efforts, his friends were not as eco-conscious as Caraway. “I asked my friends if they were going to do it with me, and they were like, ‘Clean up the trash? No, I’m not with that,’”

Every March, thousands of students and partyers head to beach resorts around the world to take a break from the long hours of studying, yet in their wake, they often leave behind tons of trash that finds its way into the ocean, disrupting the environment and killing wildlife.

Caraway’s commitment to keeping the coastline clean didn’t go unnoticed. Major Paul Acosta from the Miami Beach Police Department posted about the young man on Twitter. “So I told Joshua, you’ve been picking up trash for a long time instead of hanging out and listening to music,” Acosta wrote. “I asked why. He says he love animals and wants to take care of their home and ours.”

Acosta showed his appreciation by inviting Caraway down to the police station to receive an honorary certificate, but he was unable to attend since he had to travel back to Georgia the following day. The officer, therefore, took to social media to share Caraway’s selfless act, and an hour later, the young man was joined by a small group of tourists who helped him continue cleaning the beach.

According to the Ocean Health Index, marine trash is any manufactured solid material left on beaches, in waterways that lead to the ocean, or in the ocean itself, regardless of whether disposal occurred directly, indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally. This debris, which includes plastics, paper, wood, metal and other manufactured materials is found on beaches around the world and at all depths of the ocean.

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Approximately, 60 percent to 80 percent of all marine trash is composed of plastic and Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas Alliance estimates that eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. This debris can choke or entangle turtles, birds, dolphins, sharks, fish and other marine life. About 80 percent of marine trash comes from sources on land, such as beaches, and the other 20%, about 636,000 tons per year, comes from ships.

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