A River of Junk

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

You name it. They found it -- more than 200 volunteers cleaning up a two and a half mile stretch of the Grand River on Saturday for "Drawdown Cleanup: A Grand Idea!"

"There were countless bikes," says project coordinator Yvonne LeFave. "I think we've gotten at least three of the six shopping carts out."

"I heard they found a register in here, a cash register," says volunteer Douglas Schuster. "I'm finding pieces of old metal. You can't even tell what it is. Old bottles, pieces of glass, everything's in here."

During the eight hour clean up, several other things were found in the Grand River, including sinks and bowling balls. A lot of the clean up was near the Adado Riverfront Park.

"We're looking for shards of glass right here, because there's been a lot of bottles pitched in from the shoreline, " explains volunteer Sharon Thompson. "And it's just covered with shards of glass."

"Seeing bikes and garbage, shopping carts, for crying out loud, in the river, it's very, very frustrating and very irritating. It angers me," says volunteer Matt Caswell.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light lowered the river by four feet a month ago in order to inspect the North Dam and check for illegal sewer connections. That's when all kinds of junk became visible and the grassroots effort to clean the Grand River started.

"Somebody's got to clean this up. It aint' going to clean itself up," says Schuster. "You just walk by and see all this dirt and everything. It's just disgusting. It's just making our city look dirty."

"The stuff that we get out will be that much less in the river," says LeFave. "Can we get it all? Probably not. Can we get a good a chunk of it? Yes. And that's the important part."


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