Thousands of volunteers will scour the entire N.J. coastline for debris this weekend

     U.S. Air Force photo.

    U.S. Air Force photo.

    Clean Ocean Action, a regional coalition based in Sandy Hook that fights for clean water off the New Jersey and New York coastlines, will host its 32th annual Spring Beach Sweeps on Saturday.

    Volunteers will scour 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 Clean Ocean Action press release.

    “These reports help identify pollution problems, aid legislators in enacting laws to protect our marine environment, and inform local, state and international efforts to combat marine pollution,” the release states.

    In 2015, nearly 7,000 volunteers collected, tallied, and removed over 332,003 pieces of debris — the majority of which was disposable plastic — from the New Jersey coastline.

    In addition to plastic, other commonly found items include cigarette filters, lumber, glass, and paper. But volunteers do find oddities, including a vacuum cleaner, rubber brain, and a kitchen sink. 

    More than 111,000 volunteers have removed nearly 6 million pieces of litter since 1985. 

    “Over the last 30 years of Beach Sweeps, we have seen the types of debris change in quantity and quality, but two things remain the same. First, litter, especially plastic, is harmful and even lethal to marine life and it is on the rise. Second, you can always count on the small and the tall to volunteer to help clean up beaches. We call that Jersey Pride,” Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action Executive Director, said last year. 

    IF YOU GO

    The event, slated for 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., is open to volunteers of all ages, either individually or groups from businesses, families, and organizations.

    Participants should wear gloves, dress for the weather, apply sunscreen, and wear closed-toed, hard-soled shoes.

    There are dozens of sites, stretching from Essex County to Cape May County. Click here for a complete list.

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