We’ve all seen it (75% even admit they have caused it): litter along America’s highways and waterways. According to a recent study by the nonprofit America the Beautiful, litter on roadways is actually down 54% since 2009. But that still means there are at least 50 billion pieces of litter out there along our roadways. The news is not much better for our nation’s waterways where the study claims another 24 billion pieces of trash lie uncollected, a slight increase from the 2009 estimate.
While there are no similar studies here in the Apostle Islands, any beach comber knows that we are not exempt from the issue. Trash such as plastic wrappers, spent balloons, drink cans, disposable cups, and more are all too often found along even the most remote island beach or floating on the water where they can cause harm and even death to wildlife, and an unsightly mess.
The solution is simple: pick it up. This Earth Day (Friday, April 22nd) you can help Friends do just that. From 9 a.m. to noon on Earth Day, Friends of the Apostle Islands is sponsoring an Earth Day clean up in and around Bayfield, the gateway to the Apostle Islands. “The goal is simple,” says event organizer Jill Rennicke, the co-Director of Friends, “we want to pick up the litter before it gets in our lake and, eventually, on our islands.”
At 9 a.m. on Earth Day, volunteers will gather at Washington Avenue Beach in Bayfield overlooking the Apostle Islands. Friends will provide trash bags and safety vests (thanks to the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce) and instructions. All you need to bring is a pair of gloves and a desire to make a difference.
Want to help? Maybe this statistic from the American the Beautiful study will encourage you. The study authors found that “if everyone in America picked up just 152 pieces of litter, we could live in a litter-free nation.”
Let’s start that on Earth Day, 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, April 22nd.
For more information contact Jill Rennicke by email at email@example.com or call 715-449-8602.
Jeff Rennicke is Executive Director of the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. He is also an educator, outdoor adventure travel writer and photographer.