Last Friday was an unusual day for several diplomats in the U.S. state of Florida. The U.S. Department of State gathered consular officers from Africa, Europe and Latin America to pick garbage off the beach in Key Biscayne.
Their efforts supported a program called the International Coastal Cleanup of Beaches. This program aims to clean garbage out of oceans and off beaches.
The International Coastal Cleanup also tries to bring attention to the issue of pollution in the world’s oceans.
U.S. Department of State official Clifton Seagroves said protecting the world’s oceans is very important.
"We want to bring attention to … pollution, microbeads, plastics … which causes problems for the whole world."
A 2015 Reuters news service report stated scientists believe more than nine million tons of garbage are in the world’s oceans.
Uruguay’s consul, Lourdes Bonet, said she felt it was her duty to help with the efforts.
“A person continues to live in the place where he or she lives,” she said. “And [they] must return all that hospitality that has been received.”
Ecuador’s consul, Eduardo Rivadeneira, praised the efforts to clean the beach.
“I had never come to this park and I think it’s spectacular,” he said. “Everyone is from all over the world sharing this great moment.”
The group was able to remove almost 550 kilograms of garbage from the Key Biscayne beach by the end of the day. This same amount usually takes a week to remove.
I’m Pete Musto.
Words in This Story
consular officer(s) – n. a government official whose job is to live in a foreign country and protect and help the citizens of his or her own country who are traveling, living, or doing business there
garbage – n. things that are no longer useful or wanted and that have been thrown out
hospitality – n. generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests
spectacular – adj. causing wonder and admiration