What would you do if you were about to pilot a group of tourists and all you could see was trash in your local waterway? Well, if you’re Captain Carlos Macias, you would launch your paddleboard into the middle of the floating trash pile and try to pick it up. And this is exactly what happened during 2009 after heavy rains cleaned the streets and funneled trash to Biscayne Bay, Florida through the storm drain system. (Does this sound familiar, Los Angeles residents?)
Captain Macias was shocked and dismayed by the amount of trash pouring into the harbor. This wasn’t what he wanted tourists to see! Using his paddleboard to get to the trash seemed like a good idea because he could get closer to pick it up, but then bending down or kneeling again and again wasn’t so great. Also, trying to coordinate using a handheld net to pick up trash and a paddle to steer was awkward. Instead of giving up, Captain Macias built a net that attaches to the paddle for picking up trash. Eureka! The EnviroNet was born.
The EnviroNet is about 10 inches long and six inches wide and temporarily attaches to any paddle using a bungee cord. It’s easy to use and doesn’t interfere with paddling. All paddleboarders have to do is fasten the net to the paddle, put a basket on their board to put the trash in and they are all set to clean up the coast.
Since inventing the EnviroNet, Captain Macias has made it his mission to pick up more trash and recruit others to help him. He even made a pledge not to cut his beard until he collected 2,200 pounds of ocean trash! Nine-inches of facial hair later (about a year in real time), he made his goal. (Check out the photo above for a look at the beard.)
To find out more about the great work Captain Macias is doing, read the article EnviroNet: Reaching Out to Improve Our Waterways in SUP Magazine by Tom Fucigna. It’s a great read about a great guy doing great things! Also, like the EnviroNet Paddle Group page on Facebook.
(Note: Thanks to Tom Fucigna and Carlos Macias for getting in touch and for all the work they are doing to protect Florida’s coast.)