Clean U.P. Marquette will help spruce up area

To combat a winter’s worth of litter that has accumulated and is now beginning to reveal itself, the multi-week Clean U.P. Marquette initiative kicked off Monday and is encouraging area residents to take personal ownership and responsibility during the spring litter pick-up process.

“I’m trying to empower people who are already here to just take the responsibility of taking care of their own place, regardless of whose fault it is,” said Cesar Escobar, a Clean U.P. contributor.

The campaign challenges Upper Peninsula residents to pick up litter in their communities and post it on social media through April 27, when a city-wide clean up will be held with the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee, Escobar said.

Participation in the campaign can be as simple as bringing a plastic bag along on your next walk to collect litter you might find along the way, or as involved as organizing a large group clean-up, organizers said.

Clean U.P. Marquette aims to encourage area residents to take action on the litter issue, Escobar said, as keeping the area and its waters clean is a collective responsibility.

With all types of litter, from plastic bottles and cigarette butts, to animal waste and candy bar wrappers, emerging from the melting snow this spring, it’s important for each person to take action, Escobar said.

“Different social groups throughout Marquette have expressed opinions about trash, graffiti and garbage accumulation,” Escobar said. “It’s not about pointing fingers. We all live here. We all should contribute. It isn’t a personal thing. It’s a global thing.”

Throughout the next few weeks, groups, teams and individuals are encouraged to designate a clean-up area, then post before- and after-photos on social media platforms to help spread greater awareness. Organizers suggest playgrounds, parks, highways, sidewalks and “anywhere there’s litter” as clean-up areas.

Unfortunately, “anywhere there’s litter” also includes beaches and shorelines along Lake Superior, which can accumulate litter from those who use the area, as well as debris that washes in from other areas, organizers said.

“There’s a connection we all have with water. Walking on the beach I’ve seen a lot of plastic lids, caps and bottles. As Yoopers, it’s our responsibility to protect Mother Superior,” Escobar said. “Since I’ve moved here, I’ve visited Lake Superior often. There’s something special about the lake. I think we can forget sometimes about how lucky we are to be in such an amazing place. With how busy life is, I think we can take it for granted.”

We all are blessed to call the U.P. home, and we should all chip in and do our part to ensure it remains beautiful. Aside from today’s forecast, the weather is beginning to become much more mild and people are finally able to break their cabin fever. The next time you head out for a stroll on a sunny afternoon, just bring a bag with you and pick up any litter you see. We promise, you’ll feel good about it afterward.

For more information about Clean U.P. Marquette, visit andrewmqt. com/cleanup, or the Facebook event page at facebook.com/events/2699262486755592.