Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab will join partners from around South Bass Island and the Lake Erie Coast to heighten awareness on the issue of plastic pollution in Lake Erie on Friday, Aug. 13.
Plastic Free Put-in-Bay Day will be held at various locations on South Bass Island from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. The plastic-free partnership is made up of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Clean Marinas Program, the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center, the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy and Eriesponsible Inc.
The group will offer six education stations around South Bass Island that highlight the problem of plastic pollution and offer simple steps people can take to reduce plastics use. Participants will receive a prize after completing activities at each station, with one large prize up for grabs to a lucky winner who visits all six stations.
The project goal is to create marine debris messaging and outreach activities targeted to tourists visiting Port Clinton, South Bass Island and Put-in-Bay. The messaging will focus on single-use beverage containers like water bottles and soda cups, straws and cigarettes, the top trash items found during beach clean-ups.
The associated reduction in litter will benefit both the natural environment and the tourism industry by keeping island beaches and natural areas cleaner. More information about the event, including station locations, is available at go.osu.edu/PlasticFreePIBDay.
“After years of working with island partners to reduce use of plastics, clean beaches, and educate visitors, it is time to celebrate our successes as an island community,” said Jill Bartolotta, Extension educator for Ohio Sea Grant.
Plastics make up the majority of trash items found on beach cleanups, and most of these items are single-use, disposable plastics. Efforts to clean beaches are very important, but consumers must reevaluate their choices and ultimately choose to avoid single-use plastics when possible. Plastic Free PIB Day will include information on plastic-free and reduced-plastic options for travel, dining and boating.