MADEIRA BEACH (FOX 13) - Thousands of people lined up along several Florida beaches on Sunday in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing red tide issues and to demand clean water. A simple demand without a simple answer.
"It's a very complex problem with a complex solution," explained Dylan Hubbard, a local fishing boat captain. "No one person can flip a switch or hit a button to fix this problem."
The 'Hands Along the Water' event was a citizen-driven initiative and included gatherings on Clearwater Beach, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, Anna Maria Island, Siesta Key and other southwest Florida locations.
The demonstrators are calling for local and state politicians to take action on the red tide that's been plaguing coast. Many activists point to fertilizer runoff from sugar farms near Lake Okeechobee as a big contributor to the red tide.
One activist, Kim Gillespie, says the issue of clean water very personal for her.
"Being a survivor of a military sexual trauma, I had trouble reconnecting," she explained. "When I was fishing, the water changed my life."
Sarasota and Manatee counties have experienced the most severe cases of red tide in recent weeks. County workers have began regularly cleaning up dead marine life from the shore.