edgewater beach cleanups seek to revitalize cleveland's lakefront

In April, 51 volunteers picked up more than 500 pounds of trash at Edgewater Park as part of an effort to revitalize our city's beaches and reconnect Clevelanders to our lakefront parks.

Among the items that were collected at Edgewater that day were more than 3,000 cigar tips that had washed up in Edgewater cove.

Cleveland has the dubious distinction of being a leader in cigar tip pollution in the Great Lakes region, says Erin Huber of Drink Local Drink Tap. Currently, Huber has the cigar tips soaking in soapy water in her basement. She plans to complete an art project with them in order to raise awareness about pollution in Lake Erie.

Huber says that the beach cleanups help to improve the city's neglected system of lakefront parks. "It makes me absolutely furious, because the state park staff are basically glorified garbage people who hardly even have time to replace broken light bulbs," she says. "The state parks don't have any money, but all of the volunteer hours we log can be used to apply for funding for the park."

Although Huber believes that the long-term solution for the lakefront parks is for the City of Cleveland to hire the Metroparks to more effectively manage them, she is encouraged by the diverse array of beach lovers that have pitched in to help so far. These events help to build an active constituency for the parks, she says.

The Friends of Edgewater Park, the nonprofit group that partners with Drink Local Drink Tap on the cleanups, is focusing its efforts on supporting Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff through a range of activities.

The next "Pancakes and Trash" beach cleanup, which is cosponsored by Friends of Edgewater Park, the Ohio Sierra Club, Cleveland Lakefront State Parks and 106.5 The Lake, takes place on Saturday, June 2nd from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Ohio Sierra Club is hosting a free pancake breakfast that begins at 9 a.m.

Source: Erin Huber
Writer: Lee Chilcote