EAST CHICAGO | Students from East Chicago Central High School gathered last month to tackle a major problem on Jeorse Park Beach - litter.
A total of 635 lbs. of trash was removed from the beach in one day by more than 50 dedicated volunteers from the high school. Mayor Anthony Copeland led the charge, thanking each student for devoting their Saturday to picking up litter. Participants then took to the beach, gathering litter for nearly three hours.
For the past several years, Jeorse Park Beach has found its way to the Top Ten list of the nation’s Most Polluted Beaches. Often covered with trash and algae, many gulls are drawn to the beach, further impacting water quality.
“It has a reputation for being a dirty place,” said a clean-up partner with Save the Dunes. “But the students are ready to change that image. I guarantee they will think twice about throwing trash on the ground after today.”
Some surprising and strange finds tallied by students included shotgun shells, a plastic sled and car parts.
“I didn’t know helping our community could be so gratifying and so much fun,”said student Andrea Rivera.
National Honor Society sponsor and teacher Veronica Garcia was so impressed with her students’ enthusiasm that she intends to make the clean-up part of the National Honor Society service requirement.
The litter pick-up is one of many projects conducted through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a- Beach™ program. Other partnering organizations helping to make the clean-up possible included the Indiana Harbor-East Chicago Lions Club, Legacy Foundation and Save the Dunes.
To join the Adopt-A-Block program in East Chicago, call (219) 391-8206 or, if interested in finding another scheduled litter pick-up event in the area, visit greatlakes.org/adoptabeach.