Tuesday, April 25, 2017

EARTH DAY Spirits not Dampened at the 32nd Annual Beach Sweeps!

EARTH DAY Spirits not Dampened! 
Sweeping Success as Thousands Hit the Jersey Shore Beaches

Coastal New Jersey —Most of the earth is ocean, so it makes perfect sense for thousands to flock to the Jersey Shore to help improve and protect that which brings so much joy year round.   Rather than bathing suits and flip-flops, thousands of beach goers donned gloves and work shoes for Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) 32nd Annual Beach Sweeps at over 60 Jersey Shore sites from Middlesex to Cape May County. Dedicated volunteers spent the day cleaning, collecting and calculating the debris removed from each site.  More and more of the state is participating with sites along the Delaware and in Essex County joining in.  For complete list of locations click here.  For photos for use from Beach Sweeps locations statewide visit Clean Ocean Action’s Facebook page here.

The data produced from this event is publicized in an annual report that provides evidence about the type and quantity of debris found along beaches which is used to educate and motivate for solutions to marine pollution.

“The Beach Sweeps never cease to amaze me! Volunteers from the tall and the small to the young and the old, are an inspiration for us to continue to do what we do. COA’s daily work is to provide and protect our oceans, bays, waterways and beaches,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “Volunteers from schools, churches, businesses, organizations, corporations and teams continue to get ‘down and dirty’ to rid our beaches of the litter that has accumulated all winter. This year was no different! Volunteers are even resolved to make personal changes in their daily lives in order to reduce ocean pollution. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to come back for Beach Sweeps in the fall but until that happens, we will see you in October and remember to pick up debris on every trip to the beach.”
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Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr, (6th District) greeted the crowd of 1000 at Sandy Hook saying “What you are doing is so important.  The work you do here today has a real impact and has led to the passage of laws such as the Microbead Ban Act which goes into effect this year.”

Valerie Montecalvo, President, of Bayshore Recycling Family of Companies reminded everyone that it was 30 years ago that Governor Tom Kean signed the NJ Mandatory Recycling Act.  “NJ is the nation’s #1 recycler, but we need to do more.” Debris removed by volunteers at Sandy Hook was sorted at Bayshore Recycling Family of Companies to maximize recycling opportunities.

“Seeing the community come together in order to better the environment is truly a beautiful thing,” said Amy Arietta, Program and Administrative Coordinator. “This event is a chance for the general public to become a part of something much larger than themselves. Individuals are scientists for the day as they assist COA in collecting data that will eventually be utilized for scientific purposes. Beach Sweeps is a volunteer driven event – they are the beating heart of our program.”
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“I've loved seeing so many people show up to the Beach Sweeps ready to make a change. What we are doing today is so important.” – Sierra Byrne, Sandy Hook Beach Sweep Coordinator with Marine Academy of Science and Technology.

Zoe Sucato, also of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, said, “It is so important to stop plastic pollution in the ocean.  Sea cucumbers are amazing squishy creatures and they eat bits of plastic and it is killing them.  All marine life is threatened by plastic and we need to stop this cycle.”

COA Beach Captains are the champions.  They engage with the local community and direct the hub of volunteers and individual participants at their location. These captains lead the cleanup effort at each site and are an indispensable part to which we owe the overall success of the program.

Selected totals from Sandy Hook included: Plastic Pieces- 9,675; Bottle Caps- 7,074; Straws- 3,041; Candy Wrappers- 6,854; Syringes- 51; Balloons- 180; Foam pieces- 4,621; Plastic beverage bottles- 1,406; Glass bottles- 426.

Throughout Beach Sweeps, volunteers are encouraged to note any out-of-the-ordinary finds. COA labels these finds as “The Roster of the Ridiculous”. Some of the items catalogued today included: license plate, baby car seat, scarecrow, bag of drugs, stuffed toy bunny, bird cage, charred bar stool.

With gratitude, Clean Ocean Action thanks: AVEDA, Bank of America, Comcast, KOHL’s, OceanFirst Foundation and ShopRite for their 2017 Beach Sweeps Statewide Sponsorship. The Spring Beach Sweeps are made possible by support from many generous sponsors.

“Wakefern Food Corp/ShopRite is pleased with our 15+ year partnership with Clean Ocean Action (COA). As an environmentally and community oriented business, ShopRite respects when an organization can bring about effective change by involving more and more community member volunteers each year.  The COA Beach Sweeps event brings about the improvement of an important ecological habitat, and when groups of like-minded people come together to solve a problem or improve their environment, they can make a difference and accomplish what an individual could not do alone.  We are proud to be a part of it!” Suzanne Forbes, Corporate Communications, Environmental Affairs Administrator, Wakefern Food Corporation.

“At Aveda, we care for the world we live in.  Every April we celebrate Earth Month and for the mast 8 years we have been focused on clean water projects around the world, to date we have raised $38 million. Together in partnership with Clean Ocean Action they help us educate our Salon network, Experience Centers and guests on how they can take an active for protecting our water locally,” said Eva Van Anglen with Aveda. “We’re really excited to clean up the beach, we constantly strive to live by Aveda’s mission and it’s a reminder about how important the environment is. It is Earth Day every day for us.”

For review the results from the most recent and previous Beach Sweeps, visit cleanoceanaction.org.

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