Grass replaced with artificial turf in Miami neighbourhood
Monday, October 15, 2018, 6:33 PM - Some residents are outraged after a stretch of grass was pulled out and replaced with artificial turf along one of Miami's iconic roadways.
Brickell public works department say installing turf along Brickell Avenue cost around $230,000 (US) and will reduce maintenance costs.
It was installed by a company called EasyGrass and the process involved gluing turf to thick slabs of concrete that now cover the soil.
According to the Miami Herald, some residents were caught off guard when the grass was laid down.
Critics say the environmental impacts of the turf outweigh any potential savings, arguing the plastic-based product deprives plants and insects of habitat, prevents drainage and can heat up in the hot sun, creating a potential hazard for pets and pedestrians.
A Change.org petition says the cement has "entombed" trees and will "severely impede [their] ability to absorb water, soil nutrients, the exchange of gasses, limit the ability of tree roots to breathe and kill the microorganisms which break down urine, dog feces and other organic materials creating a healthy soil."
There's also the potential for health hazards. Because dog urine and feces can't biodegrade in the plastic, it can create a breeding ground for germs.
“Poop that is not picked up decomposes on real grass and pee sinks in. But now it’s just going to sit on the plastic and cook and the smell is going to be unbearable,” Claudia Merino Jaffe told the Herald.
Residents say the grass is already starting to smell and the city doesn't appear to have a plan for keeping it clean.
The Mayor appears to have commissioned EasyGrass to install the turf after some residents complained about bald and rocky patches around large roots under some of the trees.
Commissioner Joe Carollo told reporters the plan "doesn't make sense" for the city.
“You need grass," he added.
"This is going to be $300,000 in the trash can.”