Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Beaches, lakefronts and waterways in Duluth and along the North Shore are cleaner and healthier following a record-breaking Minnesota Beach Sweep that wrapped up this week.
More than 300 volunteers collected almost 3,500 pounds of garbage and debris in the 16th annual beach sweep, hosted by the Great Lakes Aquarium in conjunction with the Ocean Conservancy.
That's more than triple the reported garbage total haul collected in any other year; this year's sweep also broke a record for volunteer participation by more than 20% over its previous record.
Nearly 4,000 cigarette butts, 500 plastic bags, one recliner, a microwave and hip waders were among the debris hauled away.
Volunteers cleaned up more than 25 different sites across the Northland in the months of September and October.
This year’s beach sweep took on critical implications following historic June floods that devastated the area. Garbage and debris continued to wash ashore on Lake Superior’s beaches for weeks.
The city of Duluth partnered with Great Lakes Aquarium, handling all cleanup site garbage removal and disposal.