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GLIN==> From Beaches to Boardrooms, Adopt-a-Beach Makes Waves

Title: From Beaches to Boardrooms, Adopt-a-Beach Makes Waves

Alliance for the Great Lakes
July 3, 2007
For Immediate Release

>From Beaches to Boardrooms, Adopt-a-Beach Makes Waves

Frustrated by the multitude of cigarette butts littering Great Lakes beaches, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers are prompting policy changes that reverberate far beyond the beach –- most recently triggering a smoking ban at six public beaches in Ottawa County, Mich.

The unanimous June 26 vote by the Ottawa County commissioners is the latest in a growing effort by volunteers in Alliance for the Great Lakes-sponsored beach cleanups to snuff out cigarette litter at its source, a movement that has even sparked statewide legislation to make all Michigan beaches cigarette-free.

In Muskegon, a coalition of groups -- including the local Adopt-a-Beach team, Muskegon Save Our Shoreline –- succeeded last month in urging city officials to designate a no-smoking section at the Pere Marquette Park beach.

“Adopt-a-Beach volunteers not only remove litter during events, but record their findings so they can figure out how to tackle litter problems at their root,” said Jamie Cross, the Alliance’s Michigan AAB coordinator. “The smoke-free beach initiatives are about communities taking pre-emptive action to make their beaches butt-free.”

Cigarette butts are the leading form of litter sullying Great Lakes beaches, with volunteers removing 20,225 of them during the Adopt-a-Beach Spring Kickoff in April.

The final tally for this year’s event shows more than 1,230 individuals and 60 teams cleared 10,522 pounds of trash from shorelines and waterways in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Volunteers removed another 1,250 balloons from beaches -- a threat to fish and wildlife that ingest or become entangled in them.

Similar to the smoking bans sparked by the cleanups, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers are taking a preventive approach to balloon litter as well. Some are speaking out on the deleterious effects of balloon releases through letter-writing initiatives, with one volunteer’s efforts resulting in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featuring the problems associated with balloon litter.

For more information or to learn how your business, community group, church, family or school can make a difference by participating in Adopt-a-Beach, contact the Alliance at adoptabeach@greatlakes.org, or Jamie Cross at 616-850-0745, or jcross@greatlakes.org


Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Visit http://www.greatlakes.org