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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Southwest Florida Clean Water Prepared to Rally on December 8

Nov 30, 2015 11:28AM

John G. Heim and other Southwest Florida Clean Water activists that rallied together on November 8 after demonstrating non-stop for 60 days on the Fort Myers Beach Bridge are preparing to demonstrate again, if necessary, on the Sanibel Bridge. “While our demonstrations will continue to be about taking a stand for clean water as a basic human right, we are now focused on getting the five mayors from the newly formed Southwest Florida Mayor’s Coalition on Water Quality to sit down with us and the general public at a round table forum. We want to debate the C-43 water storage facility, a giant swimming pool to hold water and release it without any cleansing device or filtration measures, as compared to Plan 6, which sends the water south naturally,” says Heim.

Recently, the state warned individuals against entering the water to wade or swim at Blind Pass Beach, in Sanibel, due to high bacteria levels. The elevated levels of bacteria in the water are associated with pollution such as storm water runoff, sewage and animal waste. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation has reported red tide along the Southwest Florida coast from the Tampa Bay area to the northern border of Lee County, as well.

Heim notes that the overarching goal of the activists is to clean up Lake Okeechobee, restore what was once the natural flow of water through the Everglades and stop the dirty water discharges into the Caloosahatchee River that are impacting our area. “We need to stop the discharges from the lake to the St. Lucie River, Indian River lagoon and Caloosahatchee estuaries and move the water south,” says Heim, who recommends reading materials for anyone looking to join the movement. “Our bible is The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise, by Michael Grunwald. After someone reads it, they get what our movement is about.”

A major rally is also planned during the New Year’s holiday. “On December 8, we are prepared to show our city leaders that we aren’t going away until they agree to educate the public about the dangers of streptococcus B, a dangerous, flesh-eating bacteria in the water,” says Heim.

For more information, call 407-460-6452. Visit or email [email protected].

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