For thirty years, Clean Ocean Action (COA) has been scouring the beaches of New Jersey for marine debris, which then gets compiled into annual reports showing the type and amount of debris collected. Last year nearly 7,000 volunteers took to the beaches and bays collecting and recording what they found. The findings are compiled in the 2014 Beach Sweeps Annual Report, highlighting the Dirty Dozen, Roster of the Ridiculous, and the totals for over 90 items of marine debris collected by volunteers last year. Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps started at Sandy Hook in 1985 with 75 volunteers and has become New Jersey’s largest environmental event, with thousands of citizens search and clean nearly the entire coastline and bay beaches.
In 2014, close to 7,000 volunteers collected, tallied, and removed over 315,000 pieces of debris from New Jersey’s shoreline during Clean Ocean Action’s 29th Annual Beach Sweeps. The majority of the debris removed was disposable plastics. Plastic, including foam, represents 76.9% of the total waste found. The evidence is clear: disposable plastic items continue to litter beaches, threaten marine life, and impact water quality.
Dirty Dozen – Top 12 Items Found:
- Plastic Pieces – 40,880
- Cigarette Filters – 30,241
- Plastic Caps/Lids – 29,804
- Food Candy Wrappers/Bag – 27,381
- Straws/Stirrers – 18,372
- Foam Pieces – 13,050
- Glass Pieces – 12,703
- Plastic Beverages/Soda Bottles – 11,775
- Lumber Pieces – 9,235
- Plastic Store/Shopping Bags – 8,037
- Cigar Tips – 6,366
- Paper Pieces – 5,560
Pollution continues to flow in from many land point and non-point sources in the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan area. Over the past four years, small plastic pieces have consistently placed in the top two types of items found during Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps. In 2014, plastic pieces ranked number one.
Always remember REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE! Reusable bottles, straws, and shopping bags would greatly reduce the amount of plastic we use. Always refuse or reuse when you can, but if that is not an option always recycle!
Don’t forget to join us for the 30th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps Saturday April 25th from 9 AM to 12:30 PM at over 70 locations around New Jersey. Visit www.cleanoceanaction.org for more information and how to register!