Clean Ocean Action needs volunteers for upcoming beach sweeps

Calling all beach sweepers! It’s time to clean up the Jersey Shore!

Clean Ocean Action’s 36th Annual Fall Beach Sweep is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, rain or shine, at 70 beach clean-up locations statewide.

The cleanup takes place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during simultaneous sweeps that day, said Alison Jones, COA’s Watershed Program Coordinator.

Volunteers will come clean up the beaches and record every item they pick up on a Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep Data Card. Jones said all of this data is sent to the COA and is part of a huge database spanning decades, which helps them understand trends in the data and informs them so they can advocate for policies that help. ultimately to reduce all this debris. to the source.

There are 2,500 volunteers who have registered to participate in the sweeps. But more is needed. In the April 2021 beach sweeps, there were 4,000 volunteers. Jones said registration was still being accepted until the date of the event. To register or find a beach scan site, go to www.cleanoceanaction.org.

“We are organizing this event at the end of October because it captures all the debris that may have been left on the beaches throughout the summer season and also all the debris that comes from sources upstream all summer. The idea is to give to the beaches a helping hand before winter, ”Jones said.

It is important to know what debris is entering streams and returning to beaches, she added.

The most common objects found on beaches in recent years are called “The Dirty Dozen”. Jones said these elements remain fairly consistent from year to year. These include plastic parts, plastic bottle caps and lids, candy wrappers, cigarette filters, plastic straws and stirrers, and pieces of foam.

Then there is the “ridiculous list”. Jones said this list is always interesting. Over the past few years, volunteers have picked up some very strange things from Jersey beaches during sweeps, including New Years party hats, ski mask, back scrubber, paint set, Christmas, wigs, a tooth in a container, a toilet seat and even a check for $ 81.

“You never know what you’ll find here on the Jersey Shore,” she said with a laugh.

Spring 2020 Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps has been canceled due to COVID-19. But as of October 2020, Jones said 4,000 volunteers had collected 185,221 items from 68 beach sites. In a typical year, when both beach scans are performed, this number typically doubles to around 350,000 items collected from the beaches.

Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, water and their own buckets for debris collection. Jones said that by doing so, it reduced the number of trash bags used during beach sweeps.

“This is about reducing our use of single-use plastic to accompany the message of beach sweeps,” Jones said.

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