The coastal community of Belmar, New Jersey, is one of more than 70 locations seeking volunteers for the Clean Ocean Action Fall Beach Sweeps. The beach cleanup will take place Saturday, October 21, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at all sites statewide. This is a rain-or-shine event.
In addition to three sites in Belmar (3rd Avenue and 16th Avenue beaches, as well as L Street beach at Maclearie Park on Route 35), nearby Jersey Shore towns involved in the cleanup effort include Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Manasquan, Ocean Grove, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.
This family-friendly event is a great way to enjoy time outdoors while also doing something good to help sea life and the environment. Volunteers may participate as individuals or in small groups. All volunteers must pre-register separately for the event and sign an electronic waiver on the Clean Ocean Action website. You will be asked to show your confirmation email upon your arrival at the beach cleanup site. Those who have not pre-registered will need to register and sign the waiver via their smartphone the day of the event.
Bring gloves and wear shoes or boots that are sturdy enough for walking in the sand. Refreshments will not be provided, so bring your own snacks and water. The Clean Ocean Action is also encouraging volunteers to bring their own buckets for trash collection to minimize the use of plastic bags.
Read the full list of Clean Ocean Action frequently asked questions for this event.
During previous Beach Sweeps in Belmar, volunteers have included students and scout troops from Jackson, Freehold, Howell, and Tinton Falls, New Jersey — and even a busload of high schoolers from Pennsbury School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Making A Difference
According to the Clean Ocean Action, over 166,000 volunteers have eliminated more than 8.3 million pieces of trash from New Jersey coastlines and waterways since the inception of this pollution-prevention program in 1985.
During the COA’s 2022 spring and fall cleanup events, 8,148 volunteers joined the effort along the Jersey coast. They collected and disposed of more than 376,969 total items across all cleanup sites.
Key findings from the 2022 Beach Sweeps Report include:
Foam takeout containers decreased by 29 percent from spring to fall 2022; an overall decrease of 38 percent from the prior year.
82.43 percent of trash collected last year was composed of plastic or foam.
Significant decreases were reported in the number of plastic shopping bags, paper pieces, straws and stirrers, balloons, and plastic bottle caps and lids.
Substantial decreases were also seen in items recorded for the first time in 2021, including dog waste bags, e-cigarettes and cartridges, plastic food takeout containers, dental floss picks, disposable wipes, and disposable personal protective equipment, such as face masks and disposable gloves. However, the number of cotton-tipped swabs collected in 2022 increased by 55 percent over 2021.
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In an effort to prevent ocean pollution, Belmar enacted a ban on single-use plastic bags, which took effect May 1, 2019. In 2021, Belmar officials subsequently implemented a town-wide ban on styrofoam takeout food containers and plastic straws in 2021. Bait shops may still use plastic bags, and straws are available upon customer request only.
Belmar was also first shore town to prohibit smoking on the beach, which is now banned on every beach in New Jersey. A statewide ban on plastic bags, paper grocery bags, and foam containers went into effect on May 4, 2022. This state law supersedes all local ordinances.
In addition, beginning May 2024, New Jersey will no longer allow use of long-handled disposable polystyrene foam spoons, portion cups of two ounces or less for foods requiring lids, raw meat and fish trays, and prepackaged items with polystyrene foam for food service. Read more about "Bag Up New Jersey."
Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps
Story 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 for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
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