Recently, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced four recipients of the first ever “Trash Free Waters” grant, which aims to remove trash, litter and garbage – including plastics – from marine and freshwater environments. EPA requested competitive applications for GLRI funding for community-based projects to clean up beaches and waterways to ensure the Great Lakes watershed continues to provide habitat for wildlife and drinking water and recreation for all Americans. The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council (MACC) and it’s West Michigan coalition of partners (including the KRWC) are honored to be among the first recipients of this new EPA grant program! We’ll be looking to engage local citizens for clean up events so keep an eye out for those opportunities!
This fall we’ll be coordinating clean up activities on a small group or individual basis. Participants will be guided to our target sites, pick up trash and share results with us by estimating the volume of trash and taking photos of their trash collections. Separately but together…we can make a difference! Our next small group event will be on October 22, 2022 starting at Union St. Boat Launch. We also held a cleanup event on August 24, 2022 in and around Kalamazoo Lake leaving starting at Schultz Park. For more information or to volunteer please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual Participation – ongoing (anytime). We ask participants to pick up trash on their own and send us pictures of their collections and/or note and share with us areas that need attention. We will Buckets/supplies for individuals will be available for pick up at designated locations.
Paddler’s Trash Pick Up Kit
Surely, you’ve been here before:
You’re out enjoying a relaxing afternoon. The water gently laps against the side of your boat while the sun warms your skin. A gentle breeze tickles your neck as your paddle cuts through the surface of the water like a hot knife through butter. You glance over to the shoreline and suddenly your picture-perfect scene is rudely interrupted by…
You likely feel the desire to help clean up your beloved waterways by fishing the trash out of the water but where do you store it so it doesn’t blow away or mess up your boat? How do you grab it without ending up with that icky feeling from touching I-don’t-know-where-that’s-been garbage?
By planning ahead and taking a few simple items along you can easily contribute to cleaning up your favorite paddle spot without it ruining your day. Whether you’re heading out with the sole purpose of a clean-up mission or just want to have gear handy for next time you come across trash, this simple 3-item kit will have you covered.
These handy little reach extenders are incredibly useful for trash pickers. Not only do they prevent having to touch the garbage with your hands, they also make it easier to grab items that are out of reach – like pesky plastic that can get caught up along the shoreline or in tree branches that overhang the water. There are endless options of grabbers on the market but go for one that folds down for easier storage in your boat.
You’ll want something to store that trash in until you get back to shore to keep it from blowing away and to avoid turning your boat into a garbage dump. A mesh bag works well for this as it allows water to drain away. You can attach it to your boat’s bungee cords with carabiners to keep it out of your way.
If you’re going out to do a more aggressive cleanup operation, then you might want to attach a laundry basket or milk crate to your boat or board for larger or heavier items. Bungee cords work well to keep these stationary.
Using a grabber tool should keep you from having to touch most of the questionable items you pull from the water, but there will likely be times that you have no choice but to get up close and personal with the trash. Gloves can keep your hands clean and come in handy if any of the items you’re picking up have sharp corners or edges.
Including these three little items as part of your everyday paddling routine will make it a breeze to snatch trash out of the water, make our waterways healthier for both us and wildlife, and let you get back to your picture-perfect paddling scene in no time.