The Future Is Bright for Adopt-a-Beach and the Lakes
Adopt-a-Beach volunteers across the region took to their local beaches for Spring Kickoff this year with a record 108 cleanups in April. They picked up more than 3,400 lbs of trash from Great Lakes beaches and shorelines — and data is still coming in. Most of the litter picked up by volunteers during Spring Kickoff this year was plastic. They’re making a big difference by keeping that plastic off the beach and out of the water. Alliance Volunteer Manager Tyrone Dobson is excited for the turnout and what it means for the rest of the season.“We’ve never had a turnout of volunteers like this for the beginning of the season. It’s awesome to see so much enthusiasm for the lakes, and to see communities coming together for a great cause,” commented Tyrone.
Cleanups Across the Lakes
Volunteers across the region shared photos of their cleanups. Here are a few of their photos and stories.
Darling Cetaceans is an organization dedicated to educating children of all ages about marine mammals, the marine environment, and how humans utilize the marine environment. They braved a windy day with temperatures dipping down to almost 20 degrees to clean up their local shoreline in Muskegon, Michigan.
Team Running Fit Traverse City and a team from Traverse City Area Public Schools cleaned up Clinch Park in Traverse City, Michigan in preparation for beach season. Volunteer Madison Meter told Up North Live that “seeing kids in particular who come out and clean up and be present in the community is really special and I think that it speaks to sort of the nature of how things are done here.”
Volunteers from Team Tetra Tech did some heavy lifting during their cleanup at Gallagher Beach in Buffalo, New York. In addition to removing a huge amount of plastic from the beach, they also found large lengths of rope and tires. Yuck. Thanks for the hard work!
Two teachers from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District led a beach cleanup for 20 first grade students in Ohio. The students loved knowing they were protecting fish from harmful trash. Students also participated in activities from the Great Lakes in My World Curriculum and learning how they can continue to help the lakes.
Keeping Plastic Out of the Lakes
Plastic pollution is a big problem for the Great Lakes, and our Adopt-a-Beach volunteers see the problem firsthand. Over time, big pieces of plastic — like the plastic bottles and food containers our volunteers regularly pick up — break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Researchers have found stunningly high amounts of tiny plastic pieces in all five Great Lakes, which provide drinking water for 40 million people. They’ve found microscopic pieces of plastic in drinking water, and even beer. Gross.
Keeping plastic off our beaches and out of our water is a huge task. But you can help make a difference. You have the power to change the amount of plastic that ends up in the Great Lakes and the waterways that flow into them. Sign the Plastic-Free Great Lakes Pledge today and take action to keep plastic pollution out of our Great Lakes.