Stand Up for Great Lakes Hosts Annual Torch Lake Clean-Up After Holiday Weekend

Pop cans, vape pens and even a boat sail are all things that were found in Torch Lake after Fourth of July festivities.

Kwin Morris, co-founder of nonprofit organization Stand Up For Great Lakes and Elk Rapids Middle School science teacher, rounded up former students, fellow teachers and volunteers to help clean up the trash left behind from the weekends party. This is the seventh year the organization has hosted the event.

“Whenever you have a mass event, of a lot of people together, things happen,” he said. “Things blow into the water. I think it’s important to keep it clean and pristine for generations to come. The message is just come help. If you’re going to be out here partying, come help clean up as well.”

The Torch Lake clean up event started in 2015 when Morris noticed the water was packed with garbage after the holiday. He said last year they found a ton of glitter and micro-plastics on the bottom of the lake, which made it very difficult to clean up.

Merrick Peters, an 11-year-old volunteer at the event, said he wanted to come and help out after both of his siblings were involved with the organization.

“I came out here because I thought it would be fun to help pick up trash from the lake and just make it look clean again,” he said. “Just be more careful. If you have trash in your pocket, find a trash can right away if you can. Or if it’s recycling, put it in recycling.”

Morris said in the past, they’ve filled up to four truck loads worth of trash, but throughout the last few years, it’s become tremendously better.

“We love paddling here. We love the lakes and we want to keep it pristine and amazing how it is,” Morris says. “So, if we have to do this once a year after the big party, we do it.”

Categories: Michigan This Morning