Dozens of volunteers donned purple shirts, protective gloves and carried trash bags as they combed the beach for any piece of garbage — ranging from cigarette butts to old beach towels and flip-flops.
“The beach has changed so much since I was young and came here,” Grand Haven resident Aaron Eling said. “It never used to be dirty, and now it is dirty all of the time.”
Eling was at the cleanup event with his entire family in order to help make an impact at the local park.
“It kind of angers us a little bit,” he said of seeing the trash. “If we can come here and help pick up, we’re certainly going to do it.”
The event was put on by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Barefoot Wine. It is a part of the alliance's Adopt-a-Beach program, and is one of 17 that’s taking place across the Great Lakes region.
Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach manager for the alliance, said there were more than 30 people who participated in the Grand Haven event on Wednesday night.
“This is a partnership to get people out, do some cleanup and record everything they find,” she said. “The park takes care of this beach pretty good, but it’s about collecting information on the things that we find and how to educate people on the things they can do to make a difference.”
After the event, the alliance said 36 volunteers picked up more than 65 pounds of trash. Among the many items picked up were 1,786 cigarette butts, 531 food wrappers and containers, and one men's undershorts.
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