Become a Community Scientist During Spring Up to Clean Up

Become a Community Scientist During Spring Up to Clean Up!

Written by Kennedy Bucci, Rethinking Waste Coordinator, Ecosuperior

Every spring, the litter that has accumulated on our landscape over the winter reveals itself. We all know that littering is bad – and yet, a shocking seventy thousand pounds of plastic debris enters Lake Superior every year. Even more astounding, this number is expected to triple over the next 40 years if we do not change our habits.

Pollution is a major issue for our environment, but small actions can make a big difference. Every year, thousands of community members across Thunder Bay participate in EcoSuperior's Spring Up to Clean Up. This community-wide event helps to divert waste to recycling and landfill, where it belongs. Not only is this beneficial for our lakes and rivers, it also fosters teamwork and community spirit, leads to increased environmental awareness, and gives us a sense of action and hope.

This year, volunteers will be receiving data collection cards in their clean up kits. Volunteers will be asked to collect information on the amount and type of litter they collect, as well as the location of their clean up. Data from the collection cards returned to EcoSuperior will be entered into our database – and the participant will be entered into a draw for a prize!

Litter is any improperly discarded waste that ends up in our landscape – intentional or not. Litter is often plastic, but can be other materials as well, including glass, aluminum, and chemical waste. By number, the majority of urban litter is cigarette butts, single use plastics, and small plastic fragments called microplastics. Without intervention, the litter in our roads, parks, and walking trails will wash into rivers and eventually end up in Lake Superior.

Litter is an aesthetic problem, but it impacts more than just our enjoyment of green spaces. Over time, plastic breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces but never truly disappears, meaning it continues to accumulate in the environment over time. Small pieces of plastic can cause harm to wildlife if ingested. Litter also leaches toxic chemicals that contaminate drinking water for humans and animals alike. Accumulating litter can also deter tourists from recreational areas and even bring down the value of property.

By recording what you find during Spring Up to Clean Up, you will extend the impact of your cleanup. Importantly, it will tell us how much litter we divert from Lake Superior every year. It will also give us a better understanding of hotspots of pollution, informing where our resources are needed to manage pollution more effectively. Finally, we will add the data to a global database of shoreline litter, which helps scientists and advocates around the world tackle plastic pollution and inform long-lasting solutions.

Although cleanups alone will not solve the waste crisis, the data we collect will give us an invaluable perspective on pollution in our city, at a scale we could never reach alone – and it will help the global fight against pollution. Join us and become a community scientist this May during Spring Up to Clean Up! 

Registration is open now at


Posted in Read More by on 5/6/2024 3:28:11 PM
0 Reader Comments Post a Comment Share this Post

*All fields are required.