Letters to the Editor

Boat show does damage

The May 7 article Federal review adds to Miami boat show debate shared critical information about a report released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which revealed serious environmental concerns tied to Miami’s plans to host the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key.

The city and the boat show’s operator insist that these issues aren’t real. But as a member of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Committee, I can assure them that it is far worse than even federal environmental regulators know. The Yacht & Brokerage Show this year left a completely avoidable disaster of a mess in the waters on Miami Beach, and the Miami International Boat Show promises to do the same in Virginia Key in 2016 unless action is taken.

The show’s use of Styrofoam floating docks have all but destroyed the marine life in its path, as thousands of docks made of unencapsulated Styrofoam are lashed together to create a walkway from boat to boat. These docks have been used for what appears to be decades, and chunks of Styrofoam break off and litter the bay and shorelines. The impact is extremely significant.

It’s absolutely vital that the boat show be required to use an alternative. If not, the coast of Miami and Key Biscayne will be saturated with toxic Styrofoam balls, negatively affecting our fragile ecosystem.

Michael DeFilippi, Miami Beach