Importance Of Beach Clean-Ups At Edgewater Beach
On average, Lake Erie has around 46,000 pieces of plastic debris per square kilometer. Plastic debris in Lake Erie can be detrimental to the ecosystem by disrupting the food web, causing aquatic life to become entangled, and by carrying invasive species, which can cause further problems to the ecosystem and food web. Everyday items such as straws, plastic bottle caps, and plastic bags are among some of the items that can often be found along Edgewater Beach. This plastic can arrive at the beach through people leaving their trash while visiting, being washed up on shore from the lake, and from drains after a heavy rainfall. Another large problem at Edgewater is cigarette butts. Cigarette butts take an extremely long time to degrade in the environment and can be harmful to any wildlife in the area due to toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and lead, that are leached from the butts over time. These chemicals are harmful to wildlife when ingested and can cause acute toxicity, which often leads to death. This is where the community members and beachgoers come in to help protect water quality, surrounding wildlife, and the quality of our local beach. By simply donating an hour or two of your time for a beach clean-up, the amount of plastics and cigarette butts present on our beach can be minimized.
If you are a community member who is ready to help preserve a piece of our community, there are numerous ways to help! Bringing along a mesh bag on walks to collect any pieces of debris throughout Edgewater is a great way to start cleaning up our environment. Do you want to work with your community? Consider participating in beach clean-up events hosted by local organizations, such as Drink Local Drink Tap and Alliance for the Great Lakes, that you can participate in throughout the year. Another great way to help is to start your own beach clean-up day with a group of your friends or coworkers. Being aware of the everyday products that you use is a great way that you can help keep our beaches clean. Single-use plastics tend to be some of the highest pollutants found among the beach. You can minimize this trash by using reusable bottles, containers, and bags.
Tips for starting your own clean-up day:
Designate a container for any potential sharps found.
Separate different types of trash so that they can be recycled properly.
Identify a site to dispose of any waste collected. For large-scale clean-ups, it is recommended that you contact local waste companies.
Collect supplies such as mesh bags for participants to use (There are organizations that you can contact to donate these materials).
For a more comprehensive guide, visit NOAA’s site at
Courtney Shine is currently a graduate student with Miami University of Ohio, studying conservation biology. She has been living in Cleveland for two years now and has a strong passion for community engagement and environmental sustainability!
I am currently a graduate student with Miami University of Ohio, studying conservation biology. I have been living in Cleveland for two years now and have a strong passion for community engagement and environmental sustainability!