Hello everyone! I have taken it upon myself of recent to locate other local organizations dedicated to a similar cause of protecting and conserving the ocean. Thus I am starting a challenge series, in which each episode will contain an organization, most likely local, that is also trying to make a difference!
The series should be spaced with a fair amount of time in between posts, so this should be a smaller addition to the blog.
For our first day today, we are highlighting Green Gasparilla, headed by several members. For a more in depth look-in to Green Gasparilla’s mission, we meet Demetri Sedita, who kindly consented to speak on behalf of the organization.
Q: Demetri, for a simple start, would you let everyone know what Gasparilla is and how the event it affects the ocean?
A: Sure! Well, Gasparilla is a Tampa tradition that has been around for over 100 years. It’s a mock pirate invasion with a land parade and a water parade. Beads have been a part of Gasparilla since the beginning but recently (1995 -ish) people have been throwing beads in the water parade. They throw them from boat to boat, and to the people on shore. But most of the beads end up in the water and can poison the marine life.
Q: What are you doing to try to address the problem?
A: Well for the past 4 or 5 years my brother and I have been doing what we call “bead fishing”. We rig up a weighted treble hook and blindly cast it out into Seddon Channel, which is the main route for the water parade. We have now collected well over 100 pounds of beads and the process can be done year-round. Now we are arranging a diver clean up in September of this year to try to get the beads out of the channel. We are also trying to teach the general public about the dangers of these beads, which have been shown to contain high amounts of heavy metals.
Q: Wow! If you could talk to the public about one action they could do to help, what would it be?
A: Well, I would say that not participating in the water parade bead throwing is definitely a good step towards stoping the pollution, but participating in a post-Gasparilla clean up is the best way to help eliminate the impact that the beads and other parade related items have on the environment.
Q: Awesome! Currently, what event are you looking forward to that can help in your cause?
A: Well I’m personally looking forward to our clean up that we have planned for September to see how many beads we can pull up from the bottom of the channel with divers. Hopefully we will have a lot of volunteers diving and on kayaks helping to clean up the waterway.
Q: That’s amazing! Wrapping up, what has been your biggest achievement so far, in your opinion?
A: That’s a great question! I think that our biggest achievement so far has been that we have been on the news twice to talk about our cause and we have gotten a great response from the public because of that.
I would like to personally thank Green Gasparilla for their willingness to answer a couple questions on their cause. If you, like me, were inspired by what they are doing, please check out their social media platforms: