The month of April is an important one for Buffalo’s waterfront, not because of any major developments, but because it’s the time of year when volunteers help to clean up our shorelines. These days, there are a couple of different clean-up efforts that we can look forward to. One is a two-parter, held at Gallagher Beach by Alliance for the Great Lakes (AGL), on April 22 and on April 28. Both of the Adopt-a-Beach Spring Kickoff cleanup efforts start at 10am. According to a recent news release, sent out by AGL Water Project Manager Nate Drag, “Last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up more than 36,000 lbs of litter from Great Lakes shorelines. With your help, we can beat that number this year!”
The second waterfront clean-up effort is much more extensive. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is hosting its annual Spring Sweep. This massive undertaking see the community coming out to tackle around 50 different sites on Saturday, April 21. According to Waterkeeper, “Last April, over 2,000 volunteers helped to clean up more than 16 tons of litter from shorelines in Niagara and Erie counties!”
Waterkeeper’s Spring Sweep is followed by a volunteer appreciation party at Resurgence Brewing Company, which takes place after the two-hour cleanup. The party features food, music, and a chance to sit back and pat yourself on the back for your selfless effort. People interested in volunteering for the Spring Sweep can register for both the cleanup and the party.
To learn more about Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, click here.
If you can’t make it to any of these organized shoreline cleanup events, Nate Drag (AGL) has another opportunity to get involved. “People can hold Adopt-a-Beach cleanups on their own throughout the year,” he said. “These are events that the Alliance will have staff at, to help train new volunteers. Once a volunteer is trained, he or she can hold his or her own cleanup event and collect debris and data whenever they’d like, at a site of their choice.”
If you’re wondering about the “data” part, Drag explained, “Right now we focus on collecting debris, but also using a litter monitoring form and online database, to track and catalogue the type of trash that is collected. With this data, we can pinpoint the type of debris ending up in different locations and craft local solutions to address local concerns. These solutions could be public policy (ie: Erie County or City of Buffalo plastic bag ban/fee), could focus on management (ie: placement of ashtrays or trash/recycling receptacles at common littering areas like outside of stores, bus stops, etc.), or could be private sector (ie: businesses no longer giving out straws). These solutions won’t solve the problem overall but they can start to address the source of the issue more than just cleanups. That’s the hope at least.”
Lead image – Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper