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Aquarium of Niagara, volunteers to participate in international coastal cleanup campaign

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Fri, Sep 13th 2019 07:20 pm

More than 50 volunteers will roll up their sleeves on Saturday to take on pollution in the Great Lakes. The cleanup crew will begin 10 a.m. (rain or shine) at Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown.

Did you know that more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes every year? Those plastic bottles, bags, straws and stirrers often never make it out. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics.”

This is a problem, because researchers have found microplastics in the drinking water that comes from the Great Lakes, and the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people.

That’s why the Aquarium of Niagara is teaming up with the Ocean Conservancy and the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society to host a beach cleanup along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Over the years, the Aquarium of Niagara has helped remove more than 10,000 pounds of plastic and other trash from the Great Lakes and their shorelines.

“The Great Lakes account for a fifth of the world’s fresh water and are home to more than 3,500 different plant and animal species,” said Gary Siddall, executive director of the Aquarium of Niagara. “These beach cleanups are an important part of the aquarium’s commitment to ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for all of those species, while also safeguarding drinking water for millions of people.”

Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and to expect to get a little dirty. The aquarium will provide the gloves and materials to gather debris, as well as have food and refreshments. Participants are welcome to bring their own reusable gloves.

Visit aquariumofniagara.org.

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