Thousands to scour N.J. beaches during massive fall trash sweep

 Fall Beach Sweeps volunteers pausing for a photo in Midway Beach in Oct. 2011. (Photo courtesy of Dominick Solazzo)

Fall Beach Sweeps volunteers pausing for a photo in Midway Beach in Oct. 2011. (Photo courtesy of Dominick Solazzo)

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 34th annual Fall Beach Sweeps this 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.

Last year, 10,148 volunteers collected, tallied, and removed 454,365 pieces of debris from the New Jersey coastline during the organization’s spring and fall sweep events. Nearly 82% of the items collected were plastic or foam plastic.

Clean Ocean Action reported a sharp increase in balloons, condoms, and glass pieces and significant declines in 55 gallon drums and cigarette filters.

Some odd finds included a 1930s Philadelphia rail token, Trivial Pursuit cards, a Barbie doll, a Nirvana t-shirt, and dentures.

More than 133,390 volunteers have removed nearly seven million pieces of litter over more than three decades.

“The greatest success of the Beach Sweeps are the take-home lessons: citizens taking responsibility for the environment, making a difference, teamwork, and commitment,” the organization said in a news release.

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 are requested to pre-register by using the online sign-up form.

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

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

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