South Florida woman on a mission to clean up Miami Beach, one early morning at a time

(WSVN) - One South Florida woman is a beach cleaning machine using her time and energy to protect our oceans. The Nightteam’s Karen Hensel shows us what’s got her beach bummed in this special assignment report.

Victoria Player: “I spend so much time in the ocean snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, diving, and when you see the destruction to the wildlife out there that have ingested trash, I mean, it’s suicide for the animals. It’s a death sentence. My name is Victoria Player, and pretty much, I’d say, for the last nine years, I have been coming to the beach every morning to walk, watch the sunrise and pick up trash.”

Before the sun comes up, Victoria Player is on Miami Beach working, though she’s not getting paid.

Victoria spends the early mornings picking up what others have left behind.

Victoria Player, picks up trash on the beach: “Karen, I just literally just got on the beach over there at South Pointe, and I walked to here, which is, what, not even a quarter of a mile, and you can see I’ve picked up this already, including a dirty diaper.”

On the day we tagged along, Victoria had already collected two bags of trash in the dark.

Victoria Player: “I typically walk up to 14th Street, and in that walk, I can pick up close to four or five bags of debris or trash.”

With the sun rising, we see even more that this is what thrown away looks like to some beachgoers.

Karen Hensel: “How much trash do you think you have picked up in all the years you have been out here doing this?”

Victoria Player: Tons. Even today, sometimes I can’t do it all, and I have to leave it because I don’t have time to pick it all up. I have to get to work.”

Work, Victoria’s paying job, is owning a luxury flooring business.

Victoria Player: “I work with very high-net-worth individuals. I wear Chanel shoes and Chanel handbag. I am just trying to now do my part. It’s not enough. How can one person make enough of an impact? They can’t.”

That’s why Victoria is taking her concerns to South Beach hotels before the beaches become packed during snowbird season.

A time when her typical five bags of trash collected grows to 10 or even 15.

Her goal is to meet with hotel managers on an initiative to help educate tourists.

Victoria Player: “Every hotel room around the world now there is a notice when you enter the rooms about conserving water, conserving energy. Why can’t we put some sort of notice in the hotel rooms to educate the tourists to limit their plastic that they bring to the beach? There’s a trash can every 30 feet at the top of the beach. There’s also trash cans at every single exit off the beach.”

Victoria just started a change.org petition to keep Miami Beach clean.

As for the hotels…

Victoria Player: “I am just going to keep calling, smiling and dialing and just turn up. Hotels aren’t busy right now, right? You saw what we collected from there to here. Imagine what the rest of this beach looks like.”

Victoria Player lives by a simple rule: if you bring something to the beach, take it with you, and pick up three pieces of trash left behind by someone else, and for all of us, leave only our footprints in the sand.

Victoria Player’s “Keep Miami Beach Clean” petition

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