provided to The Santiva Chronicle
CAPTIVA ISLAND, Fla. – A record-breaking 150 Southwest Florida locals came together to participate in the fourth annual Captiva Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 30, collecting an estimated 8,934 pounds of debris from the Captiva Island waterways.
The annual event was organized by Capt. Jimmy Burnsed of Santiva Saltwater Fishing Team and his wife, Sarah Burnsed, and aims to maintain the beauty of Captiva Island. The cleanup focused on the mangrove shoreline and waters from Captiva to Cayo Costa. Among the participants were scuba divers, kayakers, paddleboarders, boaters and people on land, who recovered a range of debris including a hot water heater, a large bench, pool deck furniture, car tires, anchors, construction materials and more.
At the cleanup, 28 scuba divers dove for debris under the surveillance of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and boat captains from Santiva Saltwater Fishing Team; divers included those from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement (FWC LE), Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and experienced private citizens. Twenty boats took 55 boaters out on the water to tackle barrier islands and 22 kayakers and paddleboarders took on the cleanup of mangrove bushes while the remaining participants handled the cleanup of the beaches.
This year’s cleanup was sponsored by Santiva Saltwater Fishing Team, Keep Lee County Beautiful, Captiva Cruises, RS Walsh Landscaping, Joanna Heath Foundation, Scuba Quest, The Green Flash, McCarthy’s Marina and Captiva Rod & Gun Club. Captiva Cruises provided staff for directing boat and vehicle traffic, as well as for set up of the event. The cleanup took place at McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva Island.