By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – Two years after a teenager nudged the city to clean up its beach, the city’s Public Works Department has installed trash collection kiosks at two beach access points in Ventnor.
The “beach tree” project, originally recommended by an Ocean City High School student, was quickly implemented in nearby Margate, and has come full circle for beachgoers who enter the beach at Dorset or New Haven avenues.
The idea proposed in 2021 by then-Ocean City High School senior Christina Barbella of Ventnor following her visit to a North Carolina beach town that had instituted the program two years earlier, enlists those who like to walk on the beach in the early morning or late afternoons to help keep the be baches clean for other visitors.
“We all go for long walks on the beach and always bring trash bags to collect trash or cigarette butts,” Barbella said when she presented her idea of replicating the market basket trash collection program locally at a Ventnor City Board of Commissioners meeting in January 2021.
Barbella said Sunset Beach, North Carolina had been using the power of beachgoers concerned about the environment to keep its beaches pristine for several years with great success.
Although the beach tree project was not immediately implemented in Ventnor, Margate’s Clean Communities Coordinator Anthony Edge seized on the opportunity and got two kiosks installed on Huntington and Washington avenues in Margate.
At the behest of the city’s green team, Go Green Ventnor, the city recently installed two beach trees at Dorset and New Haven avenues and encouraged beach walkers to pitch-in to keep the beach free of litter that can be unsightly for tourists and residents, and harmful to marine life.
Barely an engineering marvel, the beach tree kiosk is simply a 4- by 4-inch post with pegs that hold several small market baskets. Margate’s baskets were green, but Ventnor chose blue. A sign on the top of the kiosk instructs beachgoers to clean up the beach and return the basket to the kiosk.
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