An analysis of garbage found on five Lake Michigan beaches finds that most trash comes from visitors instead of offshore sources, according to the Holland Sentinel.
Hundreds of thousands of pieces of trash were collected for the analysis, all by volunteers. Shorelines from West Side County Park, Chicago’s North Avenue Beach, Marquette Park Beach, Sand Bay Beach and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore were included.
At West Side County Park beach, 60 volunteers collected 3,234 pieces of trash totaling about 92 pounds. At North Avenue Beach, 1,817 volunteers collected more than 170,000 pieces of litter.
The trash samples were then screened by scientists at Loyola University:
“Most of the garbage is coming from the people on the beach,” said Timothy Hoellein, assistant professor of biology at the university. “Not all the material is making it into the right place, that is, the trash receptacle.”
Hoellein recommends a few changes to combat the trash problem:
- More signs decrying littering should be added;
- extra garbage disposal sites need to be put up along beaches;
- and additional studies need to be performed looking at the problem of beach litter.