A man has been arrested after cellphone video captured what appeared to be several boaters popping balloons and dropping trash in the water near a marina in Coconut Grove on Tuesday.
The video posted by MMG Outboard Division, a group that says it is “proud to protect and share the beautiful waters we call home,” was shot just after 4 p.m. at Bayshore Landing Marina.
Two people on board the boat are seen popping balloons and dropping them into the water.
“As we passed them and voiced our disagreement, we were ignored and they continued to walk away without a care in the world,” the band said in their post.
Miami-Dade police have made an arrest after cellphone video emerged showing people on a boat popping balloons in the ocean. NBC 6’s Jamie Guirola reports
Miami-Dade police said Wednesday night they arrested a man and issued nine civil citations.
The man has been identified as David Torres-Bocanegra, 29. He was accused of reckless disregard for the environment.
“As a community, we share a responsibility to protect our environment,” Miami-Dade Police Superintendent George A. Perez said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of our illegal dumping unit, for their thorough investigation and quick conclusion to this matter.”
Tom Rivas, who rented the boat so he could propose to his girlfriend, responded to criticism on his Instagram Stories, saying he was not responsible for the balloon bursting.
“First of all, I want to put my heart into it and say how important it is to protect our environment,” he said.
Cloud Nine, an event planning company, also deflected responsibility in a statement on Instagram.
“Our balloon salesman decorated the boat and left. We decorated the pier, completed the proposal and cleaned up as we always do. We are never responsible for removing balloon decorations,” reads in part the press release.
Esteban Bruna, a yacht broker, shot the cellphone video.
“I was pretty upset about it, it’s our bay, it’s our livelihood,” Bruna said. “I was there when they put them up and at first I didn’t really think about it, but I guess at the end of the day and they started to walk away and let them all in in the water, I was shocked.”
A witness said the balloons may have been part of a marriage proposal. Bruna said he confronted people.
“I said to them, ‘Are you serious, is this something you’re going to do now?’ [They] “It was horrible to see what they were doing to sea life and waterways by throwing all those balloons in the water.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said the balloons can be mistaken for food by sea turtles and other marine animals, and if eaten can lead to internal injury, starvation And the dead.
Balloon releases have been illegal in Florida since 1989.