Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program. As we dug into the data we’d collected, we realized the program was approaching a milestone. Beach by beach, team by team, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers had removed more than 465,000 pounds of litter from Great Lakes beaches and shorelines since 2003, when we started tracking litter in our online database.
So we set a big goal for 2022: reach half a million pounds of litter.
Today, we’re proud to announce that Adopt-a-Beach has reached that milestone. As of September 29, 2022, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers have removed 501,336 pounds of litter from Great Lakes beaches and shorelines. That’s 8,859,735 individual pieces!
This amazing achievement represents the work of more than 200,000 volunteers over the past twenty years. Community and faith groups. Families and businesses. Grade schools and high schools. Alumni organizations. Surfers, scuba divers, and professional mermaids. On all 5 Great Lakes. In all 8 Great Lakes states.
Their accomplishment shows the magnitude of what can be accomplished when Great Lakes communities work together – and also shines a powerful spotlight on plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Year after year, more than 85% of the litter collected is made of plastic, a number we know due to volunteers’ dedication to collecting data in addition to keeping beaches clean.
Their stewardship is an expression of love for the lakes — done with a sense of pride and thanksgiving for this unique region we call home.
Thank you to all the Adopt-a-Beach Team Leaders, volunteers, and supporters who made this achievement possible. This couldn’t have happened without you!
Special thanks to this year’s top Adopt-a-Beach sponsors: Brunswick Foundation, Meijer, and Unilever.