4 Looming Environmental Concerns for the Central East Coast
By Space Coast Daily // September 22, 2021
The Central East Coast of Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, as well as attracts people from around the world every year. From its beaches and theme parks to its golf courses, cities, and national parks, there is something for everyone. All of it is under threat, however.
From climate change to biodiversity loss, below are four of the current and looming environmental concerns facing the Central East Coast.
Climate change is a global issue that will eventually touch the life of every single person on this planet. Some people, especially in the global south, have already had their lives totally derailed by its effects, and many more will be forced to make major lifestyle and living changes moving forward.
The Central East Coast of Florida is already experiencing pressure from a changing global climate, and events like the kind that happened in Miami in June of 2021, where entire buildings collapse because of a combination of negligence and climate, could become more commonplace.
Tons of plastic trash wash up on or sit just at the edges of beaches all over Florida, including many on the Central East Coast. Ocean currents carry plastic waste far afield from its source, littering and poor waste management allow plastic trash to build up along coastlines, and rivers carry it into marine environments.
This trash is not only an eyesore but represents hazards for marine life like birds, turtles, fish, dolphins and manatees. As populations grow and people continue to demand and use more and more plastic, the threat plastic represents to marine environments all over Florida, and the world becomes impossible to ignore. The United States has yet to suffer the plastic problems of places like Southeast Asia, and we must do everything we can to ensure it never does.
Agricultural and untreated stormwater runoff is another major threat to Florida’s beaches. In 2019, the majority of Florida’s beaches were rated as unsafe for swimming at least once during the year because of the bacteria buildup from runoff. This, of course, includes beaches up and down the East coast.
Municipalities along the Central East Coast and indeed across the state and country will increasingly have to contend with polluted water and marine ecosystems that are unsafe for humans, let alone the species that call these areas home.
Biodiversity loss is a complicated phenomenon, and it is the result of many compounding factors, including the ones mentioned above. The Central East Coast’s wildlife must also contend with commercial and recreational fishing, invasive species, habitat loss, fragmentation and destruction due to the growth of urban and suburban areas, and pollution from vehicles and industry.
Florida is a biodiversity hotspot in the United States, on land, in its fresh and saltwater, and in the air. Tremendous harm has already been done to Florida’s wildlife, and the damage will only increase if humanity remains numb to the effects of its limitless growth trajectory.
Central Florida is a renowned national and international tourist destination thanks to its natural beauty and amenities, but it faces unprecedented threats on a variety of fronts. Human-driven environmental and ecological changes are slowly doing away with the Central East Coast’s marvels, and the results are devastating for all living organisms, people included.
Education and awareness are key in slowing and hopefully reversing the damage discussed above. There is still much to appreciate and save all over the state of Florida. Its fate is in the hands of local people and the millions of tourists who visit each year.