Trash floats in a Lake Erie marina in August 2018. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

Want to do your part to clean plastic out of our Great Lakes?

Volunteer for International Coastal Clean Up Day!

Euclid Beach is hosting a clean up event from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. You can find more opportunities with the Ocean Conservancy. Download their app to record each item of trash you pick up.

Together, the United States and Canada discard 22 million pounds of plastic into Great Lakes waters, according to a Rochester Institute of Technology study. Much of it — including fast-food straws, cigar tips and plastic bottle caps — comes flushed from streets, through storm drains and into the lake. Then it washes up on shore, making up about 80 percent of the litter on beaches.

Plastics are carried by winds and currents toward shore — usually on the east and southern coasts of each lake.

Here’s where you can help clean up that mess, with the Alliance of the Great Lakes.

Today, Friday, Sept. 14: Huntington Beach Bay Village, 4:30pm-6:30pm
Saturday, Sept. 15: Euclid Creek Reservation9am-12pm 
Saturday, Sept. 15:  Edgewater Beach, 10am-12pm
Saturday, Sept. 15: Mentor Lagoons Beach Mentor, 8:30am-until 
Saturday, Sept. 15: Walnut Beach Astabula, 9am-12pm
To sign up, go to
Want to do more to help? Give up using plastic grocery bags, plastic straws and plastic bottles. You’ll eliminate 65 percent of your plastic use, says Sherri A. Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The Great Lakes’ plastic problem, and how we can clean up the beaches