- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Volunteer groups are preparing to take part in cleanups of Great Lakes beaches.

The nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes sponsors trash pickup events each spring. Many take place on or around Earth Day, which this year is April 22.

Adopt-a-Beach volunteers joined nearly 1,400 cleanup projects in 2016. They gathered a combined 40,000 pounds of debris.

In addition to making shoreline areas healthier and more enjoyable, the cleanups provide valuable information about pollution sources that is shared with scientists and beach managers.

The Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes says 87 percent of the litter picked up last year was some form of plastic, including cigarette filters, water bottles and food containers.

To find an Adopt-a-Beach event near you or start a new one, visit https://www.greatlakesadopt.org .

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