Red Tide awareness rally outside of Robarts Arena
SARASOTA – Suncoast residents are fed up with Red Tide.
Venice native Kelly Peagram explains her experience with Red Tide.
“Every day, they’re pulling out sea turtles, Laugher heads, the Ridley Kemps that are endangered anyway,” said Peagram
Rallying outside Robarts Arena at the GOP Straw Poll event, raising awareness about Red Tide.
Tally West recalls living with Red Tide in the past,
“It used to be once a year and maybe three or four days, now it comes and doesn’t go away and is effecting everything from little fishes to human beings,” said West.
Dawn Dowick says people with compromised immune systems should stay away from the beach.
“I have actually been in a lupus flare and I know it was due to the red tide because I was doing yoga out there and I got sick, I went and saw my doctor and I haven’t had a lupus flair in over eight years,” said Dowick.
West says mining, fertilizer, pesticides and sugar-growing companies are major culprit polluters that are benefiting in the red-tide contamination.
“People that don’t feel effected are still looking at the pot of money that’s rolling in and they’re not looking at the big picture that eventually all of this is going to be gone. We don’t have our beaches, we don’t have jobs,” said West.
Residents say without the rallying support, change will never happen.
“There’s a lot of support with people beeping their horns. I would actually like to see them pull over and join us because I think it takes that. I think it takes a movement of people that actually have our best interest in mind,” said Dowick.
“This is part of what we can do to raise awareness of what is going on, and we can’t do it at the ground level, we need the help from our politicians,” said West.
Samantha Gentrup says it’s time to fight back against the pollution in Lake Okeechobee.
“We’re sending a message to these politicians that we’re taking our state back, we’re done with this. All of the big sugar and the farms surrounding lake O, releasing toxins into that water.. Why aren’t we resorting the natural flow of Lake O down to the Everglades a nature intended,” said Gentrup.
“There’s been really good plans made and never implemented. And I think it’s time to stop planning and start doing,” said Peagram.