Saturday, April 25, 2015

30th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps

Nearly 4,000 Volunteers Swept the Beach

Waves of thanks to everyone who participated in our 30th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps! Nearly 4,000 volunteers hit the beaches at over 70 sites from Essex County to Cape May County. Another huge thank you to Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Captains, the volunteers who lead the entire group of participants at each Beach Sweeps location - you are essential to the program’s success. Clean Ocean Action may organize the cleanup and compile the data, but it is truly the Beach Captains and the volunteers that are the heart and soul of this program.

For three decades volunteers have been making their way to the coast, bays, and waterways, twice a year, to clean up debris. Many of the volunteers have personal ties to the Shore and have been participating for multiple generations. The volunteers this year powered through the morning chill and got right into sweeping the beaches.

  •       Participants in Atlantic City rallied beforehand with speeches from Charlie Wimberg, Region VP of Atlantic City Electric and elected officials.
  •        213 volunteers showed up at the Raritan Bay Waterfront and found some unusual  items including animal bones, broom, binoculars and pliers.
  •       A yoga mat was found on an Asbury Park Beach.
  •        At Snug Harbor in the Highlands, a volunteer found possible fulgurite, blob of glass fused sand caused by lightening strike!
  •    Students from Hightstown Environmental Club found a door and giant plastic container in Sandy Hook.
  •         An amazing find was a seahorse at Ortley Beach! Although the wondrous critter had passed away, it is a healthy sign that they are back.

Selected totals from Sandy Hook included: 6265 food/candy wrappers, 8289 plastic pieces, 3126 straws/stirrers, 2301 foam pieces, 1339 store/shopping bags, and 1680 beverage/soda bottles.

In addition to logging standard debris counts for various plastics, glass and lumber items, Sweeps participants also logged the strange objects that make their way to the beach from various nonpoint sources. Some of the ridiculous items catalogued today included a yoga mat, underwear, dog dentures, teddy bear, a Valentine’s Day stuffed heart, tire, seahorse, and sand hit by lighting glass.

This spring data will be combined with data collected in the fall. Make sure you mark your calendars for the 30th Annual Fall Sweeps on Saturday October 24th from 9 AM to 12:30 PM at the various locations!

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