By Neil Schulman
This Saturday, Clean Ocean Action is once again sponsoring its biannual Beach Sweep, where volunteers help clear debris off beaches and collect valuable scientific data as well.
While sweeps which attract thousands of volunteers will be held along the Jersey Shore as far away as Cape May County, locally, there will be cleanups in Long Branch, Monmouth Beach, Sandy Hook and Sea Bright.
Local clean-ups will be held on April 22, with check-in starting at 9 a.m., and the clean-ups running till noon at:
• Pier Village (meet at Melrose Terrace and Ocean Avenue entrance), Long Branch. (This cleanup is sponsored by SERVPro of Eatontown and Long Branch.)
• The Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion, 29 Ocean Avenue, Monmouth Beach.
• The BeachWalk Motel, Sea Bright.
• Ferguson Beach (across from old Anchorage Building), Sea Bright.
• Tradewinds Beach, 1067 Ocean Ave., Sea Bright
• Sea Bright Public Beach (meet in municipal parking lot).
• Lot D, Sandy Hook.
Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather, wear sturdy boots, and bring gloves.
Debris on the beach can come from many sources, much of it “non-point” pollution, meaning it doesn’t come from a steady source. Some of it is left by people enjoying a day on the sand. Other pieces are washed to the shore by rainwater or melting snow runoff.
This debris can have a major impact on the ocean. Fertilizer runoff, for example, can poison fish. And any animals who ingest pieces of plastic can injure themselves.
And there’s a lot of plastic. The 2015 cleanup, the last one for which data is available on Clean Ocean
Action’s website, saw volunteers collect just under 235,000 pieces of plastic debris, and also more than 25,000 pieces of foam plastic. Most of that debris was single use items designed to be used once and disposed of, such as bottle caps or food wrappers. But instead, they wound up on the shore.
Other major debris that will be cleaned up includes cigarette filters, pieces of lumber, shards of glass, paper, and glass bottles.
Data on what’s found at the beaches help scientists determine what issues need to be addressed.
But Clean Ocean Action also keeps a “Roster of the Ridiculous.” Some strange things found in the cleanup last year included a flower pot, mattress, empty safe, and a full bottle of wine.
For more action, or if you have a large group of 10 or more that wants to participate, visit cleanoceanaction.org and click on “Beach Sweeps.”