Brothers work to make Gasparilla more eco-friendly

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, January 28, 2018, 4:31 PM EST

Fishing poles in hand, Demetri and Ethan Sedita aren't looking for a catch.

  • Two brothers work to make Gasparilla more eco-friendly
  • They started an organization called Green Gasparilla
  • The pull beads from the water after the festivities

Instead, the two brothers are reeling in Gasparilla beads from Tampa Bay.

"Since something has to be done and no one else is doing it, we should take part in it and try to help," Ethan said.

About five years ago, the boys started going to their Harbor Island dock in the days following the famous boat parade and hooking beads. But what started as a game, soon turned into a mission. They estimate they've pulled more than 1,000 strands from the water using their fishing poles.

"It's become a tradition to do that every year, and now it's morphed into this full blown organization," Demetri said.

The two young environmentalists started their own organization aptly named Green Gasparilla. They're parade fans themselves and don't mind the beads, but say they wish adults would dispose of them properly.

They're worried about the amounts of lead and toxic metals in the bead strands and what they could do to the area waterways. The beads are made in mass quantities overseas, and have very little regulation on what goes into the paints, strings, and plastic.

"It's not good if this water is getting poisoned and the fish are in this water and we're eating the fish, it's going up the food chain and into us," Demetri said.

On February 3, they will be getting some help. Divers and kayakers will hit the water for a debris dive cleanup at Marjorie Park Marina.

If you would like to get involved the dive begins at 9 a.m.

For more information from the brothers and to learn more about Green Gasparilla, you can follow them at twitter.com/greengasparilla.