07/24/2012 12:08 EDT | Updated 09/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Ontario Great Lakes fund pays up to $25,000 for local environmental projects

TORONTO - Ontario's Environment Ministry is now taking applications from the public for a $1.5 million fund to clean up the Great Lakes.

Community groups, service clubs and environmental activists are all eligible to apply for grants of up to $25,000 for local projects that benefit the environment in the Great Lakes basin.

Environment Minister Jim Bradley expects that everyone from the Boy Scouts to school groups across the province already have projects in mind.

Bradley says the fund will even provide money for educational programs that teach people how to avoid contributing to the contamination of the lakes and the rivers that feed into them.

The Progressive Conservatives say funding more educational programs means the government will pay people to talk about cleaning up the Great Lakes instead of actually doing it.

Bradley says the fund will help clean up the environment and allow people to reconnect with the Great Lakes.