Great Lakes Cleanup & Ocean Pollution Solutions

Protecting The Great Lakes Through Community Service Learning Projects!

Protect the Health of Our Oceans When You Cleanup Local Rivers

Beach cleanups are vital to protecting marine ecosystems because they remove plastic debris before it has the chance to wash out to sea and harm wildlife. As a beach cleanup volunteer, you’re contributing to the sustainability of our planet.

What You’ll Need

By joining a cleanup, you’re contributing to the sustainability of our planet.

  • Reusable Bags or buckets rather than plastic bags

  • Gloves

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Drinking-Water to Stay Hydrated (Reusable Bottle)

  • Reef Safe Sunblock or Sunscreen

What to Pick Up

What are some ways to clean up ocean pollution

1

Litters & Debris

Even Small Bits, Animals can mistake them for food

2

Recyclables

like glass, aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic drinking bottles

3

Trash

plastics, metals, glass, styrofoam, foil wrappers, cloth, cardboard, paper, leftover food or food waste

4

Microplastics

A. By technical definition, microplastics are about the size of sesame seeds.
B. They often come from larger plastics that break down into smaller and smaller
pieces.
C. Common sources of microplastics are plastic containers and bottles, bottle caps & lids, packaging, ropes, &
ghost nets. 
5

Leave No Trace

Gloves, cleaning supplies, and anything
you brought with you; leave nothing behind but your footprints!

Cleanup Best Practices

  • Split recyclables and trash into separate bags
  • Tie trash bags and dispose in dumpsters (beware overflowing bins: they can cause items to fly away and end up back in the water)
  • Don’t pick up weapons or anything that looks like it came from a hospital. Mark questionable items and inform your organizer or the lifeguard. 
  • If it occurs naturally in nature — like kelp, shells, driftwood — leave it be (try not disrupt animals and plants in the area)
  • Know your cleanup zone boundaries and meeting times 
  • Take note of the nearest lifeguard station and know what to do in case of an emergency
Create-a-Cleanup

Volunteer With a Friend!

Trying to convince a friend to join you in a cleanup? Here are a few reasons why we should all care about the health of our waters:

  • The ocean provides over 70% of the oxygen we breathe
  • Rivers and oceans are important sources of food
  • Seaweed is an ingredient in many consumer products and captures carbon from our atmosphere
  • Scientists use marine organisms for lifesaving medicines 

If we keep our waters healthy, we can keep our livelihoods and economies thriving, protect wildlife, enjoy water recreation, and build a brighter future for generations to come.

Why Pick Up Plastics and Microplastics?

Look Out for Wildlife

As you explore the cleanup zone, enjoy the nature around you, but try not to disrupt the animals and plants. They're enjoying a beach day too! If you find an injured animal, contact your nearest wildlife agency.

Microplastics occur when the sun breaks down plastic debris into smaller and smaller fragments that never fully biodegrade. Animals often mistake plastics and microplastics for food and can get entangled, injured, gravely sick, or wash ashore. When animals that ingest — but can’t digest — these microplastics are eaten, the plastic moves up the food chain, potentially into our food.

Thank you for keeping our ocean blue.

"Beach cleanups are vital to protecting marine ecosystems because they remove plastic debris before it has the chance to break into smaller fragments that washout to sea and harm wildlife. By joining a cleanup, you’re contributing to the sustainability of our planet."

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Why is it important to not litter?


Litter
on the streets can end up in street drains that flow into urban streams. Urban streams flow to our major rivers and then empty into the ocean. So, littering even in our neighborhoods is contributing to ocean pollution. Litter that enters into the ocean can be carried by ocean currents to beaches across the world and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. January 21, 2021

What are 5 ways to help the environment?

  1. Plant a tree in your neighborhood or next to an urban stream. Trees produce shade which lowers temperatures, sequesters carbon emissions in the soil, holds stream banks together to prevent polluted sediment from flowing into streams, and will be there for many years for future generations.
  1. Learn more about your local recycling facility’s practices. Different recycling facilities have different practices. What may be recyclable at one facility may not be at the next. Be sure to follow local recycling guidelines, and although not everything is recyclable, let’s make sure every single item that can be recycled gets recycled.
  1. Compost your food waste. Composting enriches soil, keeps waste out of the landfill and sequesters carbon in soil. Contact your local waste facility to find out if they provide composting receptacles for you to place in your backyard. Sometimes you can place compostable waste in your yard waste bin. Learn what is compostable and what is not.
  1. Pick up 3 for the sea. If everyone in the world picked up 3 pieces of litter every day, would there be any

more litter on the ground? The ocean is a reflection of our city streets, so let’s

keep our neighborhood clean to prevent litter from flowing downstream to our

one world ocean.

  1. Create an ocean cleanup. Register with Ocean Blue to Create a Cleanup in your local neighborhood, or at your favorite stream, river, or beach to keep litter out of the ocean. You will be provided a host package that helps you lead your own successful cleanup with your friends, family, business, school, or organization group.

January 21,2021

How can we keep our environment clean?

Lower you every day single use plastic items that will end up in the landfill. Make sure that your car remains clean. A gust of wind can easily blow trash out of the side pocket of your door and it becomes litter. Keep reusable shopping bags in your car, so you don’t have to use plastic ones on the go. When travelling or going to your favorite swimming hole, be sure to use glass products over plastic when possible. Use Boxed Water instead of plastic, or better yet fill up your own resuable eco-friendly drinking container to stay hydrated. Whatever you pack in, pack out and leave your favorite natural environment places better than how you found them. Be sure to properly dispose of your dog waste bags. It’s not enough to bag it and leave the bag for someone else to pick up. Cut your mask strings and be sure to dispose of masks in waste bins. January 21, 2021

How can we keep our city clean?

Pick up litter at local parks next to urban streams and rivers. Make a stewardship activity out of your daily walks so keep litter out of street drains that flow into urban streams, rivers, and eventually into the ocean. All plastics break down into fragments, microplastics, and nanoplastics that can end up in our drinking water supply.