CLEVELAND — Erin Huber is getting ready for a special mission.

What You Need To Know

  • Drink Local. Drink Tap. is a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to water equity

  • Erin Huber is the executive director

  • She said the group goes on beach cleanups, provides outreach education and builds water systems and toilets in Africa

  • Huber said they've picked up around 13,000 pounds of trash at Cleveland's Edgewater Park since 2010

"To pick up trash from our local beach, here on Lake Erie," Huber said.

Huber goes on beach cleanups frequently as the executive director of Drink Local. Drink Tap., an organization that’s dedicated to water equity.

“We do beach cleanups with the public, with our corporate partners, with different types of volunteer groups,” Huber said.

Huber said she usually sees a lot of single-use plastic on the beaches.

“This is a lid to a single-use plastic bottle," she said. "(It) could have been soda, (it) could have been water, (it) could have been anything, but these end up in our environment, and unfortunately, the animals end up eating these things and then they can actually die from it."

In addition to keeping the animals safe, Huber added that a clean beach also helps provide clean drinking water.

“Safe drinking water ... is the thing that we all need to survive every single day,” Huber said. “It's really the basis for everything else in life to happen.”

Huber said the beach cleanups are typically successful.

“We've picked up over 13,000 pounds of trash, over almost half (of) a million pieces of trash, right here at Edgewater Park, since 2010,” Huber said.

Huber said she’s also helping another Great Lakes region in another part of the world. 

“There is a Great Lakes region in Africa and in Uganda, where I work," Huber said. "It’s bordered to the south, by Lake Victoria, which is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. So the big difference, though, in water equity is that people there don't have access to safe, clean drinking water 24 hours a day or maybe no hours of the day."

Huber said her organization tries to bridge that gap.

“We build water systems and toilets for people who don’t have access to all this beautiful water that we do,” Huber said.

She gave these tips to keep in mind for the next time that you are at a beach.

“Using reusable water bottles and plastic bags, and thinking about using real things versus single-use things and not creating the trash in the first place,” Huber said.

If you’re interested in joining the next beach cleanup, please visit this website.