Chris McCarty, left, and Mason Taylor bring in a large board and garbage. (Kasie Bussard, Salt Lake Community College/The Globe)

 SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are working to solve the issue of pollution in the Great Salt Lake, hoping to help the wildlife that calls the area home.

More than 160 people came out to help clean the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake, and organizers say they collected over one ton of trash Saturday morning.

Stella Gaisford, who is starting college soon, said the experience was “really amazing.”

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"It was sad to see how much plastic there was, but I did feel like, in the moment when we were cleaning up all that plastic, it just felt like repair to the world that is already being damaged right now," she said.

With orange trash bags in hand, volunteers like Gaisford spent hours picking up trash that was polluting the increasingly dry lakebed and shoreline at the annual clean-up event.

“The southern shores of the Great Salt Lake are critical habitats for many different species of migratory shore birds especially. They will rest, feed, nest on these mud flat wetland habitats,” explained Katie Newburn with Friends of Great Salt Lake. “So [we're] removing trash like plastic and other kinds of debris that might be harmful for them as they’re consuming their food or could potentially be harmful to the water quality in the area."

Newburn said they had a record turnout, with more people wanting to get involved than years before.

“I kind of did not expect something like this with the amount of people that came out,” said Abraham Vazquez, who is a sophomore at the University of Utah. “It was really nice to see a lot of people do care about their environment and really are pushing their own efforts to go out and do something about it, so that was really cool."

Volunteers collected tires, mattresses, plastic, rusted chains and pipes, pieces of a truck, and more. It was enough to fill a large dumpster and then some.

Some participants said they hope cleaning like this can become a habit to help the environment.

“Imagine if everyone just did this every week — cleaned up trash for a couple hours. It would help so much,” said Gaisford.


Fox13 Reporter
Mythili joined the FOX 13 News family in July 2022 and is excited to call the mountains of Utah her home. She loves telling stories and is honored to have the opportunity to make an impact in her community. Her love for writing grew when she published her first book, Kiara's Tiara, when she was 16 years old. She grew up in both the US and India, and hopes that her journey as an Indian-American can inspire girls all over to dream big and have the courage to make those dreams come true. Mythili pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State. She has double minors in Political Science and Digital Audiences and a certificate in International studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She started her career in local TV at 23ABC in Bakersfield, California, and is grateful to have covered different communities and highlight voices that didn’t see themselves on television before. She has also interned at ABC15 Arizona, KJZZ News (the NPR member station in Arizona), Arizona Capitol Television, Entercom Radio and Arizona PBS. She reported on the 2020 Election for Cronkite News from Washington DC. Mythili loves Bollywood, scrapbooking, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. If you see her around, do say hi!

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