On Saturday, June 16, beaches from Barnegat Light all the way to Ship Bottom, including Long Beach Island, were closed after a large amount of debris washed up along the shore. About 50 syringes were found in the wash-up of trash and marine grass on Long Beach Island alone. The trash came from combined sewage overflows (CSOs) in the New York Harbor area. When heavy rain events occur, antiquated sewage pipes cannot handle the combination of sewage and rainfall, causing CSOs. What is flushed down the toilet then ends up in our waterways and ultimately our ocean. The waste was cleaned up and beaches were reopened on Sunday, June 17. Here are links to a few of the news stories featuring the wash up:
- Beach needles not a harbinger of a polluted summer, officials say
- Long Beach Island Beaches Reopened
- About 50 Syringes Wash Up on LBI
- LBI beaches reopen after syringes, debris cleared
Clean Ocean Action would like to thank Congressman Runyan for sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday, June 20, concerning the syringes found on LBI. Congressman Runyan cited New Jersey’s reliance on coastal tourism, stating in his letter that:
“New Jersey’s coastal communities and economies rely upon a strong tourism industry in order to thrive. During the summer months this becomes even more prevalent, as even a day of closed beaches has a ripple effect that impacts the entire coastal economy.”
To read the rest of Congressman Runyan’s letter, click here. At COA, we applaud Congressman Runyan for speaking out for the ocean, our economy and our communities.
To highlight the state of public health protections at Jersey shore’s beaches, in response to recent events, Clean Ocean Action will hold a press event next Wednesday, June 27, location to be determined. The event will focus on issues with tracking pollution sources at the state and federal level, as well as what citizens can (and have been) doing to keep beaches safe and swimmable.
Be sure to check Clean Ocean Action’s new blog tab “Beach Closing Updates” for the latest closure information throughout the summer.
Want to get involved? Here are a few things you can do:
- Write a letter to your representatives explaining your concern for public health protections at New Jersey beaches.
- Call elected officials and ask them to support A2852 (in the Assembly) or S831 (in the Senate), a bill which would establish notification requirements for combined sewer overflows.
- New York State has already passed CSO Right to Know laws that are waiting for a signature from the Governor (see here and here).
- Call COA if you have any further questions.
- Ask congress to continue to support beach water testing programs through the US BEACH Act!