Friday, July 25, 2008

Coast Guard Enlists Alliance, Public in Michigan Beach Trash Investigation

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is assisting the U.S. Coast Guard in its investigation to identify the source of tons of strange trash washing up along the Lake Michigan shoreline in West Michigan. The Alliance is calling on its West Michigan beach adopters and any other members of the public willing to help clean up the debris and collect information to share with the Coast Guard as it works to identify the source.

The Coast Guard says most of the debris is street litter such as food wrappers, beverage containers and balloons that was first reported washing up in Sleeping Bear Dunes in mid-June.

Initial reports from Sleeping Bear Dunes have been followed by reports of a large wash-up of debris in Manistee, and of trash washing up in Muskegon and Allegan County. Manistee appears to have received the brunt of the trash, but other communities are also dealing with abnormally high amounts of litter washing up on their beaches.

Photographs of dangerous material and items with identifiable information will help to identify possible sources. Anyone finding this type of trash should report it immediately to the Coast Guard Investigative Service at: 586-307-6759 through Friday, July 25, and 586-239-6759 thereafter.

Local Alliance Adopt-a-Beach teams, already trained in collecting trash and water quality data as part of regular cleanups and general beach stewardship, responded immediately to the wash-up in Sleeping Bear Dunes and Muskegon -- many folks just headed out to the beach without being asked. Thanks guys.

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