Showers didn’t dampen Earth Day spirits as thousands swept N.J. beaches for debris

     Tony and Debbie Kono with the beach debris collected Saturday in Brick. (Image: Tony Kono)

    Tony and Debbie Kono with the beach debris collected Saturday in Brick. (Image: Tony Kono)

    Thousands of volunteers swept beaches from the Raritan Bayshore to Cape May County 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 32nd Annual Fall Beach Sweeps at over 60 sites.

    “The Beach Sweeps never cease to amaze me! Volunteers from the tall and the small to the young and the old, are an inspiration for us to continue to do what we do. COA’s daily work is to provide and protect our oceans, bays, waterways and beaches,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. 

    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.

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    On Sandy Hook alone, sweepers found 9,675 plastic pieces, 7,074 bottle caps, 3,041 straws, 6,854 candy wrappers, 51 syringes, 180 balloons, 4,621 foam pieces, 1,406 plastic beverage bottles, and 426 glass bottles. 

    Participants also found a license plate, baby car seat, scarecrow, bag of drugs, stuffed toy bunny, bird cage, and a charred bar stool.

    “Volunteers from schools, churches, businesses, organizations, corporations (AVEDA, Bank of America, Comcast, KOHL’s, OceanFirst Foundation, and ShopRite) for their 2017 Beach Sweeps Statewide Sponsorship.and teams continue to get ‘down and dirty’ to rid our beaches of the litter that has accumulated all winter,” Zipf said. “This year was no different! Volunteers are even resolved to make personal changes in their daily lives in order to reduce ocean pollution. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to come back for Beach Sweeps in the fall but until that happens, we will see you in October and remember to pick up debris on every trip to the beach.”

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