Manistee Family Gets Community Help Cleaning Dirty Beaches

"There’s plenty of things that have no earthly business being out here."

It’s a popular Manistee beach that’s seen better days.

On Monday, it was found littered with garbage.

One person is responsible for starting the community effort to clean it up.

Manistee’s beaches draw hundreds of people to the area every year.

When someone found a mess, they asked others for help.

The clean-up effort started at the First Street Beach along Lake Michigan in Manistee.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jacob Johnson joined in on the effort and have more details.

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Melissa Letson and her 9-year-old daughter, Jenna Casper, say it started when Jenna got her foot stuck in a plastic bag that washed ashore.

“We’re down here almost every day,” Melissa says. “We don’t like to see that where we live."

Melissa and Jenna spend nearly every summer on Manistee’s picturesque beaches, but recently found trouble in paradise.

“I was walking and I stepped on a lot of things,” Jenna says. “Like a nail. I got my foot caught in a bag, too."

“I was very upset because this is a beach that we like to swim in,” Melissa says. “We spend a lot of time down here."

So Melissa sent out a call for help on Facebook.

Alberto Tejada and several others responded.

“I play basketball up at the court,” Alberto says. “My nephew and niece are the ones that come here a lot so that’s what gave me the initiative to come out here and do something."

You’ve got your fair share of things like this Coors Light cap, another cap, chip caps galore.

I also found several forks, knives and other assortments of plastic cutlery.

On top of that, I found a few pieces of glass and a lot of pieces of rubber balloon.

Melissa’ found much more since this morning, all things that could damage the environment.

“This is one of our biggest tourist spots,” Alberto says. “I mean, just coming down here, we have all of our events down here at this beach."

As she works to restore the beach she loves, Melissa now hopes a little help will go a long way, and that more help will come.

“If you bring something with you, take it back with you,” Melissa says. “You drink your entire bottle of water, put it in your bag and put it in your car. Throw it in the garbage can. There’s plenty of options."

“It’s pretty bad because it’s not good for our earth,” Jenna says. “It’s good that we help the earth by cleaning up."

The City of Manistee says they routinely sweep the beaches — but it’s a difficult battle.

Melissa plans to return tomorrow.

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