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Coughing, burning throat and eyes, nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing. That’s what residents within the Everglades Agricultural Area and surrounding communities have told us they experience when the Florida sugar industry burns the cane fields prior to harvesting.  Some suffer from asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.

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Even if it doesn’t send you to the emergency room, people said, sugarcane burning affects quality of life. We all love Florida for its natural beauty, but many cannot open up their windows in the wintertime due to the sugarcane smoke.

The Florida sugar industry has burned their cane fields every year for over sixty years.  They don’t have to – as one of our survey respondents noted, it’s an outdated practice. There are other very productive options for disposal of the leaves.

But burning makes the mechanical harvesters move faster and transport to the mill cheaper.  That’s great for an already enormously lucrative industry. Not so great – day after day, year after year — for people who live downwind.

Having heard that residents in and around the Everglades Agricultural Are are suffering, we’re ready to stand up and tell the Florida sugar industry that their profit should not be at the cost of our health. We want to know what you are experiencing.  Will you tell us your story?

Burning is too profitable for the industry to abandon without a push, and we will need to come together with other residents and community leaders to demand change. With your help, we can move away from this harmful practice and ensure that breathing is a human right in south Florida. Will you volunteer for the Campaign to Stop Sugar Fields Burning?