by Tony Briscoe, Chicago Tribune

NOAA library

On a sunny August morning at 31st Street Beach, Tyrone Dobson assembled 20 volunteers to pick up litter from the shores of Lake Michigan.

At first glance, the effort seemed unwarranted. After all, the tire tracks from a Chicago Park District beach groomer were still fresh in what appeared to be pristine sand.

But Dobson, senior volunteer engagement manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, knew better. He instructed the volunteers to take a closer look. Peering around their feet, the group noticed myriad pieces of trash enmeshed in the sand. They meticulously plucked plastic straws, plastic bottles,

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