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South Florida man frustrated with plastic pollution along our beaches

Plastic Symptoms aims to find alternative resources to curb plastic usage
Bryan Galvan, 30, cleans up trash on a Palm Beach County beach.jpg
Posted at 10:46 AM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 20:35:36-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Plastic pollution has become a major threat in one place in South Florida.

You may notice it at the beach, you may clean it from the sand, but what if you made it your life mission to understand it? One Palm Beach County man has gone to extraordinary lengths to convince and change us of our bad habits.

"Some days I come out here and I wonder if I'm actually creating the impact that I want," said 30-year-old Bryan Galvin.

As a teenager, he saw a problem in the sand and picked it apart.

"When I graduated High School it just seemed like I could never get away from it," Galvin said.

Now a decade later, it's an epidemic. The amount of trash he has picked up on beaches in this state is incomprehensible. Every day he puts his hand in the sand. Pollution is so bad he can't grab it fast enough.

"We might clear a beach, when we turn around that coastline will look pristine, when we come the next day, maybe two days later it looks like we haven't even touched it," Galvin said.

That's why he's carrying pent-up emotion every time he looks down at the beach. Hundreds of bottle caps are picked up each day. He harnessed that disgust in 2019 by walking the entire peninsula to prove a point. 1,300 miles and four months later he picked up 3,000 pounds of waste and brought it to one place where he knew everyone would see it.

"This is a small portion of what we dumped at the State Capitol steps," Galvin said.

Galvin grabbed a lot of publicity and attention there and plans another trek around the state. Ultimately, he just wants us to think about this.

"We are receiving about 30,000 to 60,000 pounds of plastic every tidal period and that's our estimate we have so far," Galvin said.

It's a sad reality that one man has turned down job after job, started a movement called Plastic Symptoms, and recruited help, all to pick your brain on how to grocery shop.

"Refuse that bag at the store, use something reusable," Galvin said.

Each search brings to light the enormity of what he ultimately wants and the reality of what can't get soon enough.

"I arrogantly thought I could just get people on board to see what I saw to want to make the change," Galvin said.

It's a slow and often time depressing goal. Yet each step makes an impression. One person removing single-use plastics from their home can change this landscape for the next generation. For that it's worth every inch of cleaning, even if he can't show for it.

"We can leave feeling good that we did something for our community and environment, but we go to sleep knowing it's just going to wash back in the next day."

For alternate resources, you can use in your home to reduce plastic usage visit Bryan Galvin's website by clicking here.