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Great Lakes Article:

Metro Beach gets a makeover
By Andrea K. Farmer
Detroit Free Press
Published September 11, 2006

When it comes to protecting the environment, Clean Water Action looks to the community to lend a helping hand.

On Sunday, nearly 40 local volunteer workers from the organization gave their time during the annual beach cleanup at Metro Beach in Harrison Township.

"We usually perform cleanups on several beaches in southeastern and eastern Michigan," Christy McGillivray, an organizer for Clean Water Action, said Saturday. "But this year, due to funding cuts, we've only been able to concentrate on Metro Beach."

Clean Water Action is a national, nonprofit organization founded to promote legislative and political efforts after the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. The mission of the organization is to protect the nation's waters and to promote awareness of the need for ecological responsibility.

Clean Water Action has had branches in Michigan since 1988, and the Clinton Township office has been open since 1998, said McGillivray, 24, of Mt. Clemens.

About 30,000 of Michigan's 177,000 active Clean Water Action volunteers live in Macomb County. Clean Water Action also has branches in East Lansing, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

Clean Water Action volunteer and Fraser resident Linda LeBlanc, 47, helped with the Metro Beach cleanup campaign that her daughter, Alaina LeBlanc, helped organize.

The cleanup area included sand at Metro Beach and the grass area that borders the beach.

"You'll see pop bottles, cigarette butts, alcohol containers and sometimes food scraps and litter from paper products," Linda LeBlanc said Sunday.

"The beach cleanup is a great first step," McGillivray said. "Involvement is important and proving how everyday actions impact our communities."

For beach cleanup campaigns, such as the Metro Beach effort, Clean Water Action works in tandem with International Coastal Cleanup, an organization of more than 5 million volunteers. Since 1986, the volunteers at International Coastal have worked to maintain local beaches, rivers, lakes and streams by removing trash and other debris from the water and shoreline.

"We need to take care of public spaces because that has an impact on our quality of life," McGillivray said.

Alaina LeBlanc, 23, helped spread the word of the recent cleanup before the event. She encourages more people to become involved with the Clean Water Action campaign.

"Clean Water Action is a great group," LeBlanc of Fraser said Sunday. "It's a great way for people to get involved in the community."



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