A Virginia Beach shoreline makes international headlines, and it’s not good news. An unsanctioned floating party known as “Floatopia” brought thousands of people to Chic’s Beach on Sunday, and the partygoers left behind some 20,000 pounds of trash on the beach.
The City of Virginia Beach estimates it cleaned up ten tons of litter and debris. In a statement, city leaders wrote, “The City takes great pride in keeping our beaches clean, so we were disappointed to see the condition Chic’s Beach was left in following an unpermitted event called Floatopia.”
The statement goes on to say, “through the swift and thorough work of our Beach Operations crew, the beach is once again clean.” It also notes that residents showed up to help clean the beach.
Melissa Noel, one of those residents, posted this video on Facebook, and it’s since gone viral, with 1.4 million views and counting.
The video, and other images of Floatopia’s aftermath, have caused outrage near and far, from the Ocean Park neighborhood, to the million-plus worldwide who have now seen the footage.
Virginia Beach Councilman Michael Berlucchi tweeted, “I was disappointed to wake up this morning to see images of trash all over our beautiful Chesapeake Bay beach after Sunday’s festivities. We can do better than this!”
The Ocean Park Civic League will hold an emergency meeting Thursday evening to address concerns over Floatopia.
If there’s one bit of good that may come from the extreme litter, it’s a renewed feeling of urgency to protect the beach. The City of Virginia Beach has seen an uptick in beach cleanup interest:
“We’ve had several individuals ask about regular volunteer opportunities to help with beach clean-up, and anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to contact Michael Moore at [email protected] or 757-385-2080.”
-Meg Walburn Viviano