During the group’s 27th Annual Spring Beach Sweep along the Jersey Shore volunteers removed and catalogued each piece of debris to document ongoing pollution issues. Robust crowds were reported up and down the coast.
More than 1,200 volunteers attended the event in Sandy Hook and collected 8,705 pieces of plastic, 8,384 pieces of foam, 7,527 food wrappers, and 6,665 plastic caps and lids. Volunteers also picked up 94 six-pack holders, 141 shotgun shells, 45 shoes, and 564 plastic utensils. Dog tags, lottery tickets, a solar panel, plastic strawberries and hair rollers were also collected.
“Human trash is now found on every shoreline in the world and throughout the global ocean,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of the organization. “Human trash not only makes beaches ugly, it maims and kills marine life. We must do more to reduce plastic pollution and Beach Sweeps are one way citizens can help and their response is inspiring… People love the beach and ocean and are proud of the real Jersey Shore.”
The data collected will be combined with data collected during the Fall Beach Sweep in October, and then analyzed and presented in an annual report. These annual reports identify pollution problems, educate citizens on the types and quantities of debris, aid legislators in passing and enforcing laws to protect the marine environment, and contribute to local and international efforts to combat marine pollution. Clean Ocean Action released the 2011 Annual Beach Sweep last week (available at www.cleanoceanaction.org).
“The Beach Sweeps helps to raise public awareness about how debris enters the marine environment, as well as the types, quantities, and sources of marine debris,” said Tavia Danch, Clean Action Ocean’s education coordinator for pollution prevention.
“Volunteers are encouraged to make the connection between what they are removing from the beach and their everyday decisions, such as the consumerism of single-use plastics. Volunteers learned, first- hand, the negative impacts of single-use plastics on the coastal environment, in addition to the small changes they can make in their everyday lives to prevent pollution,” added Danch.
To learn more about the Beach Sweeps and Clean Ocean Action, call 732-872-0111 or visit www.cleanoceanaction.org.