ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Suncoast Surfrider Foundation is holding a red tide rally on Saturday morning. The organization is inviting the public to join them as they demand accountability from state leaders.
“Let’s get together. Let’s be a collective voice. Let’s rally for those who don’t have a voice and make some demands from our governor on how we can stop this,” said Thomas Paterek, chair of Suncoast Surfrider Foundation.
He said it was cries from the community that prompted this rally.
“It affects our tourism. It affects our way of life. I’m a half-mile from the water right now and I wake up choking. That’s not okay,” said Paterek.
The rally will be held on July 17 at 10 a.m. at the bottom of the St. Pete Pier where people can see the devastation of the blooms.
Paterek told 8 On Your Side he hopes the group can discuss solutions but ultimately he wants elected officials to step up.
“Short term, we need to declare a state of emergency on our local waterways. We need funding. We need manpower. We need people to clean up the dead rotting fish on our beaches just for quality of life. Midterm, we need fertilizer bans statewide. Fertilizer feeds these blooms. Red tide is naturally occurring, but the size of it is not naturally occurring. That’s because of human consequence. Long term, there needs to be a ban on phosphate mining altogether.”
Local leaders are expected to speak at this demonstration as well.