Thousands of volunteers swept beaches from the Bayshore to Cape May County last 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 29th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps at over 70 sites.
Volunteers scoured tidal waterways for debris, documenting the quantity and types of garage found. The collective results will be subsequently analyzed and published in an annual report, which will help to reduce sources of pollution, according to a press release.
On Sandy Hook alone, sweepers found 268 plastic forks, spoons and knives, 2651 plastic caps and lids, 760 cigarette filters, 4137 plastic pieces, 277 plastic shopping bags, 52 pens, 2099 plastic straws, 27 syringes, and 304 tampon applicators, the release said.
Participants also found fireworks, a piece of a car door, an eight-foot by four-foot piece of fiberglass from a boat, a rusty anchor, a trunk of metal tiles, a bike handle, a bag of mice, chicken bones, a Lego castle, men’s underwear, a bikini, and pom-poms.
“Whether a first time participant or a Sweeps veteran, [the] volunteers witnessed first-hand how their lifestyle can impact the environment downstream from where they live or work,” said Catie Tobin, Marine Science Education Coordinator. “We can only hope that this eye-opening and empowering experience translates into changed behavior so that eventually the Beach Sweeps are no longer needed.”