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Cleanup at Edgewater Beach Generates Optimism, but Also Cigarette Butts

photo of Edgewater Beach
Edgewater Beach in Cleveland was the site of an Alliance For the Great 'Adopt-a-Beach' cleanup event over the weekend. Additional cleanups will take place through October.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is hosting beach clean-up events this month – including several at locations along Lake Erie.

About 40 people came out on Saturday to clean up at Edgewater Beach. Katie Corr, an education specialist at Cleveland MetroParks Zoo, led a group of Miami University grad students who are studying environmental stewardship. She says since the MetroParks took over the beach in 2013, it’s been cleaner. But they’re still finding some of the same items each year.

“Oh, I think our whole morning was spent with growls of anger about the amount of cigarette butts and cigar tips that we keep finding. We’re not sure if people just leave them here or if they blow here of if they wash up in the water. Probably all three of those combined. The cigar tips are plastic, so they should know that’s not an organic compound. But with the cigarettes, I think definitely people probably figure they just break down.”

Corr adds that the butts do not break down when thrown away. Another beach cleanup is planned at Edgewater next Saturday, and additional cleanups are happening on the lake through October.

This searchable map shows future Great Lakes cleanup events.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.