Group passes out info about plastics pollution

News Photo by Jordan Spence Plastics FLOAT (For the Love of Alpena Today) members Sydney Silver, 11, and Sylvie Luther, 10, talk with OWL server Dana Bailey about Zero Waste Week Thursday. The students went around asking restaurants to give customers straws only if requested.

ALPENA — Two members of Plastics FLOAT (For the Love of Alpena Today) wanted to appear mature and calm when they passed out information to local restaurants Thursday.

“We’re trying to inform people about Zero Waste Week,” 10-year-old Sylvie Luther said. “We’re asking the restaurants to not give people straws unless they ask for them.”

The reason they focused on straws was because they’re the most common and harmful marine debris, Luther said.

The club also has partnered with All Saints School and Thunder Bay Junior High for Zero Waste Week. The event will start Saturday and runs through April 15. The week is focused on waste reduction and small changes people can make to their lives to better the Earth.

FLOAT is a new 4-H club that meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center at 500 W. Fletcher St.

The club first started in 2014 by Hannah MacDonald. It now includes students in the fourth through 12th grade. The students work to educate others about plastic pollution, awareness and prevention.

The club now has six members and is led by Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Network Coordinator Meaghan Gass and Sanctuary Media Coordinator Stephanie Gandulla.

Luther said she decided to join the club after Gass visited her class to inform them about the club.

She said the reason she is involved is because she wants to protect animals harmed by litter.

Sydney Silver, 11, said she wants to help solve problems.

“I want to protect younger generations from what other people are putting out there for our generation to fix,” she said. “I don’t want my sister to deal with an ocean with a bunch of litter.”

Silver and Luther were happy to discuss the harms of plastics and were able to have five of the restaurants they visited participate in the program.

Huron Pines AmeriCorp volunteer Olivia Rose helped the kids with their project.

“It’s really easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of plastic in our lives,” Rose said. “It’s about taking small steps.”

Silver echoed this sentiment.

“They might not be saving money, but they’ll save the earth,” she said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.