N.J. awards grants to fund litter clean-ups at the Jersey Shore

Beach litter

In this April 18, 2011 photo, trash litters the beach in Sandy Hook, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

More than $1 million in state grants are on the way to Jersey Shore municipalities and counties to fund litter cleaning efforts, according to state officials.

The funds are part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s “Clean Communities” grant program, which helps local authorities undertake clean-up efforts to beautify the state.

“Clean Communities grants help municipalities and counties with the important task of removing unsightly litter, often from roadways and around stormwater collection systems, to enhance quality of life,” NJDEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe said. “Beautifying our communities through these types of cleanups help improve water quality and natural resources while also protecting wildlife and their habitats.”

The state is awarding $17.3 million in grants to New Jersey municipalities and $2.1 million to the 21 counties, a DEP release states.

Some of the Jersey Shore municipalities receiving the highest grants include Toms River ($210,009), Brick ($159,487) and Berkeley ($122,649), all in Ocean County.

According to the DEP, the municipal grants are based on the number of housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways within each community.

The nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council oversees the reporting requirements for the program, which is funded by a user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products.

Activities funded by Clean Communities grants include cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into streams, rivers and bays; volunteer cleanups of public properties; adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.

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