Big Sweep – Post Event


June 17, 2008, Miami Beach, FL

The Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach (ECOMB) hosted “The Big Sweep”, a South Beach Clean-up Competition on Saturday, June 14, 2008 from 8am – 2pm.  The event drew hundreds of volunteers to pitch in and help clean up Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau Hotel brought more than 80 employees to the event resulting in them winning a prize for most volunteers. Other companies that brought in teams included Royal Caribbean, who also won an award for most trash collected.

The event was the brainchild of ECOMB’s Executive Director, Luiz Rodrigues.  “There is just so much trash in South Beach,” explained a vehement Rodrigues.  “It is filthy with cigarettes, plastic straws, bags and plastic bottles.  People have to take responsibility for their actions which are damaging our environment.”

Volunteers cleaned up enough garbage to fill roughly 100 large garbage bags and picked up thousands of cigarette butts across the beach.  Awards were given in three categories.  Besides the awards for most volunteers and most trash collected, a special award was given to the team that picked up the most cigarette butts – Lululemon Athletica.  Present to deliver the special awards of recognition were Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, Miami Beach Commissioner Richard Steinberg and Channel 7 Anchor Craig Stevens.

The awards were led by Mayor Bower who presented a proclamation declaring June 14, 2008 as “The Big Sweep Day” in the City of Miami Beach.  New ECOMB Chair Michael Gongora also presented a proclamation from Miami-Dade County Commission Chair Bruno Barreiro declaring June 14, 2008 as “The Big Sweep Day” throughout Miami-Dade County.  Gongora, a former Miami Beach Commissioner, stated, “I want people to get more proactive in maintaining our beaches clean and safe.  I hope that this is the first of several clean-ups hosted by ECOMB throughout Miami-Dade County.”

The Big Sweep day was a first ever collaboration between ECOMB, the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Boucher Brothers and others.  It was a partnership between the public and the private sector drawing in people and resources in a fun manner to draw attention to the cleanliness of our beaches.  Most volunteers were alarmed by the amount of debris and cigarette butts.  Rodrigues summed up the day’s event by having the thousands of cigarette butts poured onto a tarp to be photographed and announced, “don’t leave your butts on the beach.”

For more information please call Luiz Rodrigues at 786.853.1855 or email him at