Submitted by STEVE JASIECKI
DOWNBEACH – All along the Jersey coast Saturday Oct.22, thousands of volunteers hit the beaches for the biannual Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep. Several organizations as well as individual volunteers were rewarded with a picture perfect day for the Saturday cleanup. Sunny and warm with blue skies and a fair breeze.
Beach captains provided gloves, trash bags, and data cards so volunteers could pick up and record the amount and various types of debris found.
The first Clean Ocean Action Beach sweep occurred in 1985 in Sandy Hook with just 75 volunteers. Since then, it has grown to more than 73 towns and 5,000 participants.
Having an account of the types and amount of trash found on the beaches helps researchers identify behavior trends and monitor increases or decreases in types of pollution. The data collected is entered into an international data base so scientist can follow the developments on marine pollution.
Although mechanized beach rakes keep the beaches clean throughout the summer, their size limits where they can go. Volunteers can tackle areas the beach rakes can’t reach.
Areas along the bulkheads and dune fencing where volunteers can reach in and clear the area of trash benefitted the most.
Ventnor Beach Captain Mary Lanahan had about 76 people show up at the Washington Avenue location where approximately 100 pounds of trash was collected. Students from Pleasantville, Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Oak Knoll and Whitehall Elementary schools in Williamstown, and Viking Dragon boat paddlers were among the volunteer groups that showed up in Ventnor.
Margate Beach Captain Anthony Edge, stationed on Granville Avenue, had about 30-40 people show up to collect about 40 pounds of trash. Eugene Tighe Middle School students, Bank of America, Remembering BGA and the American Conservation Coalition were among the volunteer groups in Margate.
Longport Beach Captain J.J. Walsh reported having about 46 volunteers and 25 bags of trash and 18 bags of recyclable material collected.
The next COA cleanup is scheduled for spring 2023.
For more information about Clean Ocean Action, see https://cleanoceanaction.org/be-the-solution-to-ocean-pollution