East Moline woman’s eye for trash inspires others to help clean the QC

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Lisa Heaton is a mission to clean the planet, one piece of trash at a time.

The self-proclaimed nature advocate said she spends a few nights each week cleaning up local woods and parks.

On Thursday, May 17 Lisa worked on Wiman Park in East Moline. In just 30 minutes she had a full bag of trash, collecting things like bottles, cans, plastic wrappings, a fishing bobber and a tire.

She said her passion for a cleaner Earth came from her time volunteering at the Niabi Zoo in the fall of 2017.  That's where she learned about conservation issues impacting the planet.  Things like how 1.4 billion pounds of trash wind up in the oceans each year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

"I love nature, and anytime I went out to explore it I was being distracted by shiny objects... and it was at that point I decided if I didn't like the scenery, then I needed to be the one who needed to change it," she said.

In addition to cleaning the Quad Cities area, Lisa said she often takes weekend trips out of state to clean other landscapes.  Her long-term goal is to have cleaned up trash in all 50 states.

And when she started telling others about her endeavors, more people started to take notice.

"I've noticed a lot of my friends or people I've talked to about it say I've never noticed until you said something about it," Lisa said.

Inspired by Lisa's mission, a group of her coworkers and their families took action. They decided to do a group cleanup twice each month, beginning their efforts at their workplace, Dohrn Transfer.  At their first cleanup, they gathered 250 pounds of trash in one hour.

With plans to clean on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, they've invited others to join.  Click here to go to their Facebook page, where you can write a wall post to ask for more information.

If you know of an area that's been heavily littered, you can email Lisa at "qcpollutionsolution@gmail.com".

Follow Lisa's trash pick-up journey on Instagram, click here.