The Belmar Business Partnership and the Belmar Environmental Commission have joined forces to help keep disposable plastic bags off our beaches and out of our waterways. A town-wide ban on single-use plastic bags takes effect in Belmar, New Jersey, on May 1, 2019. As a first step, in fall 2017, shops and merchants throughout the borough gave away free reusable tote bags to encourage shoppers to pass on the plastic at checkout.
Belmar Councilman Tom Brennan, council liaison to the Belmar Environmental Commission (BEC), is spearheading the town's green initiative to reduce plastic pollution.
Some Belmar businesses took a lead role in preparing for the town-wide plastic bag ban in 2019. Sweet Tease Tea Room, for example, was one of the first businesses in Belmar to go all green in support of the environment. Coffee and tea are served in recyclable cups made from recycled materials, cold beverages are served with paper straws, and takeout containers are recyclable cardboard and paper.
The logo on the BEC's reusable tote bags was created by a 17-year-old student at the Communications High School in Wall Township, New Jersey. Her first-place artwork was one of 103 submissions entered into the BEC's logo design contest in spring 2017. The contest was open to students in grades 4 to 12.
We hope you will support the BEC and our local Belmar businesses in promoting the use of reusable tote bags. Recycle your single-use plastic bags at Shop Rite of Belmar, 1801 State Route 35, and at Wegmans, 1104 Highway 35, Ocean Township, New Jersey.
Plastic Pollution: A Growing Global Problem
Disposable plastic bags are a major source of beach and ocean pollution in coastal communities like Belmar — and across the globe. Plastic never fully decomposes, putting waterways, sea life, marine wildlife, and coastal birds at risk. In addition to disposable bags, plastic pollution comes from straws, water bottles and lids, micro beads in face and body scrubs, polystyrene foam products, and other items.
According to Clean Ocean Action, during its October 21, 2017, community beach sweeps, the top five items collected and discarded from the Sandy Hook beach were:
6,994 plastic pieces
5,702 plastic caps and lids
3,012 straws and stirrers
2,926 food and candy wrappers
1,438 cigarette filters, which are not biodegradable
In a fall 2018 story on microplastic pollution, CBS News reported that the average American throws away an estimated 185 pounds of plastic each year.
"Scientists say a third of our plastic trash ends up in fragile ecosystems like our oceans. One researcher predicts there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, and we are already finding garbage on the farthest ends of our planet — Norway's Arctic Circle," according to CBS News. Read more.
Plastic trash from the Americas and Europe is being transported by the Gulf Stream to arctic waters at an alarming rate. According to research by the British Antarctic Survey and published in the Science of the Total Environment journal, microplastic particles have reached as far as Antarctica, reaching levels "five times higher than expected." Read more. (Video credit: University of Hull, England.)
All copy and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.vacationinbelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide to the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.