ASHTABULA — A Walnut Beach Cleanup, hosted by Kids for a Positive Change, will be 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 21 as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day.
International Coastal Cleanup Day is one of the world's largest annual preservation and protection events and volunteer efforts for the ocean, waves and beaches. It is a global movement that encompasses 6 million volunteers in 90 countries and in the United States.
Camille Licate, of Ashtabula, who's organizing the Walnut Beach cleanup, said it is important to keep local beaches clean from trash and debris because trash threatens local wildlife and the health of Lake Erie.
“Trash — especially plastic bottles, bags and straws, balloons, cigar tips and cigarette butts — can make its way from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean, where endangered sea turtles, dolphins, whales, shorebirds, seals and sharks can ingest it,” she said. “This spells trouble for not only wildlife, but our environment and the health of our world’s oceans.”
Ashtabula City Council President John Roskovics said of the many positives occurring in our town the Kids For Positive Change rank right near the top.
"They are doing so many great and important things," he said. "The problems they are addressing are big and real and they are taking bold important steps to deal with them."
Licate encourages families to come out and lend a hand. There will be free coffee and donuts for all participants.
Last year, volunteers scoured more than a mile of the beach, cleaning up 406 pounds of garbage, including 496 plastic straws, in less than three hours, she said.
Volunteers are asked to sign in at the pavilion at Walnut Beach. All supplies will be provided there, but if participants have buckets and gloves at home, they are asked to bring them. Sunscreen and water in a reusable bottle is recommended.
Throughout the past two years, Kids for Positive Change, which was founded by Licate, has been involved in a number of projects to clean up the environment. They've garnered support for the “The Last Plastic Straw Ashtabula” campaign from City Council and students from Erie and Superior intermediate schools partnered with LEADERship Ashtabula County to launch the campaign in 10 local restaurants.
“The problem is that plastic straws are not recyclable,” Licate said. “The campaign to raise awareness about plastic straw pollution and introduce community members to earth-friendly, reusable straws was a success."