TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Mayor Jane Castor made historical changes by announcing a bead-free initiative for this year’s Gasparilla.
Don’t panic, there will be plenty of beads during the parade, but the hope is the “bead free bay” initiative will keep those coveted beads out of the beautiful waterways of Tampa Bay.
Mayor Castor was swayed by two Tampa brothers who launched Green Gasparilla years ago, coordinating volunteer dive teams to help pull thousands of pounds of beads from the bottom of the bay.
“We’re very concerned that that’s happening down there,” said Demetri Sedita, who co-founded Green Gasparilla with his brother Ethan.
The brothers discovered what was buried beneath the waters of Tampa Bay while fishing off piers on Tampa’s Harbor Island.
“We reel in beads seven out of 10 casts,” the brothers explained.
They wanted to see how bad the problem was so they started with makeshift ways to see underwater, like lowering a cell phone inside a mason jar with video rolling.
“There are layers of beads beneath the waterways,” said Ethan Sedita.
The brothers started coordinating volunteer diver events, and dozens of people would show up pulling up 200 to 300 pounds of beads per dive.
The brothers invested in an underwater drone and took their video to Mayor Jane Castor.
“She thought it was crazy. She had never seen anything like it,” Ethan said.
The mayor created change and everyone seems to be on board with the idea.
The next underwater clean up is happening on Feb. 15, when the brother’s team up Green Gasparilla with The Florida Aquarium.
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