Aerial spraying begins in Miami Beach despite residents' concerns

Second spraying scheduled for Sunday morning

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Aerial spraying in Miami Beach lasted about 10 minutes Friday, over the ocean before the sun came out to account for windy conditions, Miami-Dade County officials said.

Critics said the spraying, which was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health and the governor, might be setting a bad precedent.

"The people on the beach, we are sophisticated, we are educated, we are informed, and we're not just a bunch of crazies running around saying, 'Oh we don't want this, and we're all conspiracy theorists.' That's not what's going on," Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco said. "You've got thousands, if not tens of thousands who do not want this."

Grieco is among Miami Beach residents who don’t want aerial spraying in their city.

"Just a couple of weeks ago, the CDC was saying it was impractical to do aerial spraying on the beach," he said.

Initially, aerial spraying wasn't performed over Miami Beach because windy conditions and tall buildings could minimize the impact of the spraying.

"But all of a sudden, this morning, on a windy, rainy Friday morning, all the scientists got very unscientific and just decided to run planes along the shoreline and just cross their fingers in hopes that a neurotoxin just spreads where it needs to go," Grieco said.

"I actually think there's a bigger chance that a child -- look, it's raining -- that a child falls on the wet grass tomorrow, or this afternoon, and licks pesticide, and has long-term problems, than someone actually getting microcephaly in Miami from a mosquito bite," longtime Miami Beach resident Michael Capponi said.

That's why Capponi said he has joined recent demonstrations, pushing for an alternative to Naled, which is coming out of the plane.

"There's large parks here, there's an entire ocean (and) there's an entire ecosystem," he said.  "If we don't stop it in Florida, or at least raise our voices, all these other states are going to be next."

The aerial spraying is expected to continue Sunday morning.

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