The Detroit and Grosse Pointe communities were brought together for the annual Belle Isle Clean Up

Sylvia Hodges '19, Copy Editor

Photo by Sylvia Hodges ’19

The annual Belle Isle Clean Up took place on Saturday, April 21 on the island. Thousands of volunteers went to help remove trash and beautify the historic park.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Genevieve Nowak, the organizer of the event and Director of Volunteer Services within the Belle Isle Conservancy, said plastic water bottles are among the most littered items in Michigan’s parks.

“When plastic ends up in Belle Isle’s waterways, it leads into the Detroit River, then the Great Lakes and eventually the ocean — impacting aquatic life, and breaking down into microplastic, which makes its way to our dinner tables via the food chain,” Nowak said.

Several members of South’s National Honor Society (NHS) volunteered at the clean up, working together to remove the destructive litter.

“It was very well organized, so it was like a big community event,” Tiffany Nakai ‘19, an NHS member, said.  “It helped the island.”

According to Nakai, about 20 NHS members came to help with the clean up.  

“I thought it would be interesting because I’ve never been to Belle Isle before,” Nakai said.

Nowak said the event has been going on since 1973, when a city councilman coordinated a clean up with about 400 volunteers.  

“I personally think it’s a wonderful tradition,” Nowak said.