Volunteers clear Jersey beaches and waterways

Close to 3,000 volunteers hit the beaches to participate in Clean Ocean Action’s 30th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps at more than 65 sites from Essex to Cape May counties.

On Oct. 24, volunteers removed and catalogued each piece of debris, helping to document ongoing pollution issues. Many came as teams from local businesses, corporate and grassroots organizations, school and church groups, and families, all with ties to the Shore, according to a press release from the ocean advocacy nonprofit.

Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, said the beach sweeps promote the health of the ocean and protect marine life.

“The marine life this past summer was spectacular — whales, belugas, dolphins, great whites, and more — all cruised by the coast. They are extremely vulnerable to marine debris through ingestion and entanglement. Through the Beach Sweeps, volunteers are giving back to the ocean and they are also the reason why the beach sweeps has been a success for the past 30 years.”

The data at the Oct. 24 beach sweeps will be combined with data collected in the spring at the April 24 beach sweeps, analyzed and presented in an annual report that identifies pollution problems and educates citizens on the quantities and types of marine debris.

The cumulative data is provided to legislators to help implement stricter litter bans and enforce laws to protect the marine environment.

The 2014 Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps Annual Report can be downloaded at cleanoceanaction.org.

Clean Ocean Action’s mission is to improve the degraded water quality of the seas off the New Jersey/New York coast.