More than 2k braved stormy conditions to clean Jersey Shore beaches

    Trash collected by volunteers with the Clean Ocean Action environmental group in April 2012. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo

    Trash collected by volunteers with the Clean Ocean Action environmental group in April 2012. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo

    In adverse weather, a few thousand volunteers swept beaches from the Raritan Bayshore to Cape May County on Saturday as part of an New Jersey-based organization’s annual program.

    Clean Ocean Action, a regional coalition based in Sandy Hook that fights for clean water off the New Jersey and New York coastlines, hosted its 31st Annual Fall Beach Sweeps at over 70 sites.

    “Dedication to COA’s mission of ocean advocacy was clear as the drenched volunteers scoured the beaches for debris,” a release from the organization said.

    Volunteers walked along tidal waterways searching for debris, documenting the quantity and types of garbage found. The collective results will be subsequently analyzed and published in an annual report, which will help to reduce sources of pollution.

    The rainy conditions presented a challenge for tallying collections, and as such, COA says the data results are “dramatically lower.” 

    Selected totals from the 250 Sandy Hook volunteers included 1,017 plastic pieces, 782 caps and lids, and 772 candy and food wrappers — all historically low.

    Participants also found $200, a laundry basket, 12-inch long hair extensions, garden fencing, a large nest of netting material, a beach chair, and goggles.

    “The Beach Sweeps are an important and helpful way citizens can give back to the ocean, and show-off their Jersey Shore pride,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.

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