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More than 3,000 pounds of trash cleaned up around the Great Salt Lake

Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 16, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Helping the Great Salt Lake, by picking one piece of trash at a time.

On Saturday, over 100 volunteers came together to clean the shores of the Great Salt Lake for International Coastal Clean-up Day.

“Every time you find a piece of trash and pick it up, it just feels good,” said Shayan Pandit.

Pandit and Eric Lu with Salt Lake County Youth Government volunteered to help pick up trash at the lake.

Other volunteers helped clean the area along the road and along the shoreline as well.

“It just takes a little bit,” said Karla Gunnell.

Gunnell lives in Midvale and has started to learn more about the dire situation facing the Great Salt Lake.

“We can keep continuing to do this, every little bit matters, and we can make a difference,” she said.

About 120 volunteers filled orange trash bags and weighed each bag and piece of trash. The most common items were bottles and cans, but they also found tires, barrels, metal scraps, carpet and other litter.

The day was all about people who love the Great Salt Lake coming together to make it a better and safer place for the shorebirds that call this area their home, and for people as well.

Volunteers collected over 3,200 pounds of trash just in a couple of hours on Saturday morning. There was also another satellite clean-up site at Bountiful Pond.

“That’s kind of ridiculous to think about that level of volume, that collects in less than a year, here along the south shore,” said Katie Newburn, with Friends of Great Salt Lake. The group hosts this event annually and has seen interest grow.

“We’ve been hearing more about the urgency to protect Great Salt Lake and allocate more water to this system, we have this really growing interest in our community for folks to come out and contribute however they can,” added Newburn.

For some volunteers, coming here helps them feel passionate about saving the lake.

“Looking how far the water line has receded, I think coming here really shows how the lake is drying up as well," Lu said. "So it really puts a lot into perspective.”