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Miami's Super Bowl 54 Legacy Project May Focus On Our Unique Environment

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Before Super Bowl 54 comes to town, there's an effort underway to clean up our beautiful shorelines.

Angela Diaz is volunteering her time, scavenging the shoreline at Morningside Park to collect trash.

"I found fishing lines, Styrofoam and plastics bags," she says, "if you look closely, there is plastic and micro plastic everywhere."

This cleanup on Biscayne Bay is organized by The Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and Ocean Conservancy, and kicks off a yearlong partnership leading up to Super Bowl 54.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity to connect millions and millions of people who, like people in Miami, might be intimately connected to the ocean every day, and people who might never get to see the ocean or think about the ocean very often," states Janis Searles Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Conservancy.

For twenty-five years, the Super Bowl Environmental Program has worked to leave a positive, "green" legacy in host communities. Leading that charge are Jack and Susan Groh, Directory and Associate Director.

"It has to be a project where the local community buys into it, where we all agree that there is a need and then we all find out what resources each can bring to solve that problem," said Groh.

While Miami's legacy project details won't be revealed for a few months still, Groh hints that South Florida's unique environment will likely play a role.

"Here in South Florida it takes on a new meaning for us. For example, urban forestry could include things like mangrove planting along shorelines to stabilize shorelines, or it could include things like coral restoration."

Ocean Conservancy is a national nonprofit that has been doing cleanups in Florida for 30 years. To date they have collected 14 million pounds of trash to date. They stress the importance of reducing use of plastic overall.

"One of the things we are very excited about working with the Super Bowl Host Committee is looking to be as single-use plastic-free as possible around all of these events leading up to the Super Bowl. The goal is to have less plastic flowing into the ocean in the first place," says Searles Jones.

The NFL knows that the biggest sporting event of the year creates a powerful opportunity.

"There is a statistic that states more than 70-percent of people pay attention to sports, and fewer than 15-percent pay attention to science, so Super Bowl provides a great platform for getting an environmental message out."

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