An online petition campaign has garnered nearly 8,000 signatures in an effort to get Publix supermarkets to ban “big sugar” companies from its stores.
The campaign comes in the aftermath of an unusual outbreak of toxic blue-green algae that has washed up on the shores of beaches in Palm Beach and Martin counties in Florida.
The petition was launched by Ohana Surf Shop, a small business in Martin, FL and it hopes to make a big change.
From the Change.org petition:
“We are asking Publix Supermarkets to please stop carrying products from Florida Crystals, Domino Sugar and all of their subsidiaries. Florida Sugar is responsible for the largest eco-disaster this state has ever seen. Our beaches are closed due to toxic algae as a direct result of Florida Sugar’s blatant disregard for any and all EPA regulations. The releases of Lake Okeechobee fresh water is killing our estuaries, wild life and causing sickness and 2 deaths, directly related to the discharges. They are killing our economy and our way of life. Small family businesses are in distress and closing down daily. Being a Florida company, we hope that Publix will do the right thing and get their sugar from other sources.”
Ohana Surf Shop has also called for the impeachment of Florida Gov. Rick Scott over the lack of government action in handling the algae bloom problem, which many believe is caused by the release of high levels of nitrates, often found in farming (sugar and other crops).
Tourism could be affected by the algae blooms.
Nerissa Okiye, who is the Marketing and Tourism Director for Martin County, told WPTV that she has been fielding questions from people who had placed trips to Martin County before the algae blooms began.
She told WPTV that “When they’re seeing this, it puts a hesitancy. Do I want to go there?”
As we’ve previously reported, the algae has been known to cause rashes and hay fever like symptoms in people that it has come in contact with, and nausea and vomiting in people who ingest it.
According to the Ohana Surf Shop Facebook page, there is a planned protest for this Saturday (July 2) at 10 AM at Stuart Public Beach.
This is a developing story. Stay with RISE NEWS.
WATCH: Ohana Surf Shop owner confronts local leaders on algae blooms
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