Numerous hypodermic syringes were discovered late this week on Monmouth County’s beaches.
Clean Ocean Action, a coastal advocacy group based in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, confirmed Thursday evening that hypodermic syringes were found between Monmouth Beach and Asbury Park.
“This is a serious issue, and Clean Ocean Action is actively working to gather information,” an organization spokesperson posted on Facebook.
Area photographer Robert Siliato found three hypodermic syringes on the beach in Deal Friday morning.
“One had a needle still intact,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”
Along with the syringes, the beach was “riddled” with plastic, according to Siliato, who cleaned up debris and contacted the Deal Police Department.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection closed 13 beaches from Long Branch to Loch Arbour late Thursday afternoon after materials, known as “floatables,” washed ashore, according to DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.
In addition to the syringes, which the spokesman says are diabetic needles, tampon applicators, bottles, and paper were found.
Five beaches remained closed through early Friday morning, including Cedar in Allenhurst; Hathaway, Deal Casino, and Philips in Deal; and Village Beach Club in Loch Arbour Village, according to the DEP’s njbeaches.org.
Hajna said officials would inspect the impacted beaches and if necessary, have any residual debris removed. The beaches reopened around 9:45 a.m., the DEP website reported.
Hajna says typically the materials enter sewer systems north of the Jersey Shore, flush out into the water, and drift onshore via ocean currents. The debris likely came ashore due to currents in recent days heading south of the New York Harbor and winds out of the east, according to the spokesman.
The materials are either flushed down toilets or washed into street sewers, Hajna said, adding that heavy rain, like on Tuesday afternoon, sometimes exacerbates the outflow.
The National Weather Service is forecasting rain chances beginning this weekend through next week.
Crews were dispatched to rake beaches and remove the waste late Thursday afternoon but Siliato’s findings reveal that some remain along the shoreline. Hajna said crews will be removing any residual materials.
Andrew Chambarry, an official with Surfrider Foundation’s Jersey Shore chapter and founder of “COBRA: Citizens in Opposition to Beach Restrictive Access,” echoed Siliato’s reaction.
“The fact that this can even happen in the first place evidences a failing infrastructure and gross negligence by the state,” he said.