Dania Beach Has a Serious Litter Problem

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

As she explained last week, Catherine Uden was saddened by all the litter sprinkled across Fort Lauderdale Beach during spring break. As the Broward Chapter secretary of Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit grassroots environmental group made up of surfers and beach lovers, she found it especially hard to see. For years, Uden and other Surfrider members have been doing beach cleanups all across the county.   

But while Fort Lauderdale can get bad, Uden says the garbage problem is even worse year-round a little farther south, at Dania Beach, where the leftovers of debauchery are often left behind.

"I find Dania Beach to be the worst. Every weekend is spring break on Dania Beach," Uden says. "There's a lot of broken glass — which is the most aggravating, because it can really hurt someone — a lot of Solo cups, a lot of beer cans, plastic bags, cigarette butts, and Styrofoam."
About once a month, Uden and ten or so other Surfrider members organize a beach cleanup. Dania has been one place that they frequent, since the garbage problem is so pronounced. Uden blames the lack of trash bins, no enforcement of litter ordinances, and geography (the wind, Uden says, blows litter across Whiskey Creek and into the mangroves).

The Broward Surfrider Chapter have even written to Dania Beach Commissioner Walter Duke a few times, attaching photos from their cleanups to inform him. Uden says that she's seen little done and that the problem is only getting worse.

"It's an unguarded beach," she says. "And now that it's known as the beach to go and do anything you want because no one will do anything, it's getting worse and worse... One time we went out and there were two girls beer bonging in the middle of the day. It wasn't even spring break." 

New Times has reached out to Dania Beach Mayor Marco Salvino for comment. We'll update this post if we hear back. 

Uden says there are always illegal bonfires and fuel left behind on Dania Beach that is especially dangerous to marine life. It's not uncommon to see overflowing trash bins and litter piled beside them. Every time she paddleboards along Whiskey Creek, Uden finds plastic bags and other litter trapped in the roots. It’s always alarming, but earlier this month she realized the problem was more serious than she thought.

On March 5, dozens of environmentalists took to Dania Beach for the 39th-annual Broward Waterway Cleanup, a county effort to clean the waterway at 29 sites along rivers, canals, and beaches. Surfrider members joined the effort too, picking up debris in the water from their paddleboards. Uden remembers that trash was everywhere at Dania Beach. She snapped as many photos as she could to document. 

"We were filling one of those big, contractor garbage bags every four minutes," Uden says. "It was so bad. There were loads and loads of garbage everywhere. A lot of people don't realize that leaving something behind on the beach will eventually blow into the water."
The situation isn't hopeless, Uden says. She believes more trash bins, better signage, and enforcement of litter ordinances could drastically reduce the amount of litter on Dania Beach. She adds that restaurants along the Dania Beach pier could also opt to use biodegradable products (like paper cups instead of Styrofoam).

"Everyone wants to be able to sit and drink a beer on the beach. That sounds nice. But these kids ruin it for everyone," Uden says. "If there are laws and ordinances against people drinking and littering on the beach; they need to be enforced or else no one will follow them."

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.