A misty rain and overcast skies did not dampen the spirits of the more than 200 volunteers who took part in the Clean Ocean Action 33rd Annual Fall Beach Sweeps in Belmar, New Jersey, on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Volunteer groups participating in the cleanup effort on Belmar beach included Boy Scout Troop 204 from Jackson, New Jersey; Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore; and a busload of students from Pennsbury High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
In all, more than 3,000 people volunteered across 60 locations along the New Jersey coastline in support of the Clean Ocean Action's Fall Beach Sweeps, according to the organization's Facebook page. The nearby towns of Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Manasquan, Ocean Grove, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake were also part of the effort to rid the shoreline and waterways of trash and plastic pollution.
To help combat plastic pollution in Belmar, in May 2018, the Borough Council adopted an ordinance that bans the use of single-use plastic bags by Belmar retail shops, merchants and food establishments. The Belmar plastic bag ban takes effect May 1, 2019. Certain businesses, such as bait shops, are excluded from the ordinance, as are dry cleaner garment bags and small plastic bags commonly used for produce or meat. Belmar officials are also considering an expansion of the ordinance that would add plastic straws and foam containers to the ban.
During the Clean Ocean Action’s 2017 community beach sweeps last April and October, more than 7,400 volunteers collected and disposed of nearly 374,000 total items. The top five items found were:
Plastic pieces, 15.04 percent of all items collected;
Bottle caps and lids, 13.62 percent;
Candy and food wrappers/bags, 10.76 percent;
Plastic straws and stirrers, 8.34 percent; and
Cigarette filters, which are not biodegradable, 7.76 percent.
The next statewide beach cleanup effort will take place in April 2019. For more information about the Spring Beach Sweeps, visit the Clean Ocean Action website, or contact the organization at email@example.com or 732-872-0111.
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