Wilmette, Community

Nearly 2,000 pieces of trash collected at Gillson Beach

Thirty-six volunteers from across Chicagoland gathered at Gillson Beach on Saturday, April 20, in Wilmette and removed more than 43 pounds of trash as part of a beach cleanup coinciding with Earth Day on April 22.

The volunteers collected at least 1,860 items, including plastic pieces, Nurdles (pre-production plastic pellets), food wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, plastic straws/stirrers, plastic grocery bags, paper pieces and clothing.

The event is associated with the Alliance for Great Lakes Adopt-A Beach program.

Of the nearly 2,000 items of trash, 704 were broken bits of plastic, according to Sarah Murphy, an ambassador for the Alliance of Great Lakes and the founder of local conservation group Toes N Water.

Volunteers sign in for the beach cleanup at Gillson in Wilmette.

“The top story for the day was single-use plastic and ‘tiny trash,’ said Murphy, who helped organize the beach cleanup, in an email. “Small plastic trash presents a significant problem because it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Animals eat it, which gets into the food chain and eventually to us.”

The Alliance for Great Lakes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. The organization’s Adopt-A-Beach program works with communities across the Great Lakes to identify and remove trash from lakes and beaches.

Details of the trash collected at Gillson Beach April 20 will be entered into Alliance for Great Lakes database.

“This data provides a big-picture view of what trash is landing on our shores, allowing us to find ways to prevent it,” Murphy wrote. “Researchers and municipalities use the data to help identify solutions to this big plastic problem.” 

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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