A nationally-renowned environmental activist held a public town hall featuring panelists from several clean water organizations in Fort Myers Wednesday.
Erin Brockovich is wrapping up a 5-day tour across Florida to discuss environmental issues in the state. This included a tour of Lake Okeechobee and SWFL beaches.
"Dead eels were everywhere, different kinds of crabs were dead, I saw them bobbing in the water," she said.
On Wednesday, she was among a panel of speakers at Burroughs Homes and Gardens along the river next to the Edison Bridge.
Other panelists represented the Calusa Water Keeper, Captains for Clean Water, and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. The panel discussion served as an opportunity for participants to educate the audience about clean water challenges in Southwest Florida.
Hundreds of people showed up to the event. The main topics of discussion were red tide, blue-green algae, Lake Okeechobee water releases, and public health. Several attendees lined up at a podium to discuss concerns with Brockovich about feeling sick and feeling helpless about the situation.
Brockovich's main message was to push the government for solutions, even if they don't seem responsive at first.
"Every representative, congressman, senator, up and down the state, in your district, call them. Call them, call them, call them, and keep calling them. Where's your state health department? These people are very frightened," said Brockovich. "They don't want to answer the phone? Go down there."
As Brockovich encourages people to report toxic conditions and health symptoms, she also says she is willing to fight alongside people in Southwest Florida. She has a website called communityhealthbook.com, a self-reported map that allowed Brockovich's team to track clusters of health issues.
"So if they report to me, I may be able to funnel that back to the health department, or somebody who can come out here and answer their questions," she said.
Brockovich made an appearance in Stuart, Florida on Sunday, where she announced her support for U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s "Stop Harmful Discharges Act."
On Monday and Tuesday, she toured Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.