• Authorities worry about environmental impact of items washing up on area beaches


    BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - First it was hundreds of cans of coffee on Melbourne Beach, now another Brevard County beach has been littered with debris, including large jugs of cooking oil, disinfectant and body spray.

    It has not been concretely linked, but it is suspected the items washing up on Melbourne and Cocoa Beach beaches are coming from containers that fell off a barge in early December.

    “I’m assuming that the containers are now rupturing at the bottom of the ocean, allowing anything (that can) float to wash up on the beaches,” Cocoa Beach Fire Chief Ryan Duckworth said.

    Photos: Jugs and cans of disinfectant wash up on Cocoa Beach

    Raw: Jugs wash up on Florida beach

    When large jugs of cooking oil, Lysol disinfectant, body spray and other items washed up Tuesday, officials in Cocoa Beach initially called the U.S. Coast Guard.

    But when the items turned out not to be hazardous, the Coast Guard declined to investigate the incident.

    Cocoa Beach residents are concerned that the most recent flood of goods washing up on beaches could just be the start.

    “Yeah, I am concerned that the beach be kept, you know, I live here so I want to make sure the beaches are kept clean,” resident Jack McGath said.

    Duckworth said the contents of the items washing up has not been anything that would pose a health threat so far. He did warn, though, that the containers themselves could be hazardous.

    “Obviously, if there’s anything sharp or anything that’s dangerous (that people) could cut their feet on, we advise them not to touch it or get near it,” he said.

    State wildlife officials have not commented on any environmental impact the floating debris could pose to the area.

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