ASHTABULA — Walnut Beach is a lot cleaner and brighter today, thanks to scores of volunteers.
About 100 adults and children scoured more than a mile of beach Sept. 21, cleaning up more than 700 pounds of trash in three hours, said Camille Licate, founder of Kids for Positive Change, at the start of Monday night’s City Council meeting.
“We had fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from St. John and Ashtabula Area City Schools, as well as members of the community there,” she said. “We are definitely raising awareness.”
Kids for Positive Change hosted the cleanup, sponsored by LEADERship Ashtabula County and The Alliance for the Great Lakes, for International Coastal Cleanup Day.
“It’s important to keep Lake Erie clean,” said Clara Harchalk, a member of Kids for Positive Change, who attended Monday’s council meeting.
The students said small pieces of plastic were the No. 1 item found on the beach with cigarette butts coming in No. 2.
They counted 2,145 small plastic pieces and 1,470 cigarette butts.
The group also picked up 578 plastic straws, 690 bottle caps, 513 candy wrappers, 209 plastic water bottles, 13 balloons, 4 tires, 4 needles, a large pipe and a CD player.
“It’s clear some people in Ashtabula use Walnut Beach as a dumping site,” Licate said.
Council President John Roskovics said: “It’s clear you are making a difference.”
City Council members unanimously adopted a resolution in August 2018, supporting a proposal presented to them from Kids for Positive Change, asking Ashtabula restaurants to distribute plastic straws to customers by request only in order to reduce litter and threats to wildlife.
By supporting the resolution, drafted by City Solicitor Michael Franklin, council members voiced their full support of “a voluntary policy of providing drinking straws only upon request of customers, reducing the negative impacts on the environment,” according to the resolution.
The resolution does mention people with certain disabilities might need plastic straws and no one is denying them that right.
Kids for a Positive Change asked council to consider a resolution voicing support of reusable bags, as opposed to plastic bags, at area stores.