26TH ANNUAL SPRING BEACH SWEEPS

Coastal New Jersey – Today, an estimated 4,000 volunteers hit the beaches to participate in Clean Ocean Action's (COA) 26th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps at 69 sites throughout New Jersey.  Volunteers removed and catalogued thousands of pieces of debris to document ongoing local pollution issues.

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“For over twenty-six years, this event has inspired everyone, from the small to the tall.  On this beautiful spring day, thousands of citizens are coming together, and again, giving back to the ocean by “sweeping” the beaches from harmful debris,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.  “We applaud the diligent efforts of the Beach Captains and Sweepers for another extraordinary day of citizen action!”

The data collected today will be combined with data collected at the Fall Beach Sweep in October, and then analyzed and presented in an annual report. These annual reports identify pollution problems, educate citizens on the types and quantities of debris, aid legislators in passing and enforcing laws to protect the marine environment, and contribute to local and international efforts to combat marine pollution.


 “Beach Sweeps are about more than collecting debris,” said Tavia Danch, Clean Ocean Action’s Pollution Prevention Coordinator, “They are educational opportunities for us all.  Volunteers learn ways that they can make changes in their daily lives, and the data should encourage municipalities to enforce litter ordinances and enact polices that prevent litter from entering our waterways.” Danch added.

Last year, in 2010, 8,372 volunteers collected 475,321 pieces of debris from over 69 locations during the combined Spring and Fall cleanups (the complete 2010 Annual Beach Sweep report is posted on COA’s website).

“Keeping our waterways and shorelines free from debris is important to the economic vitality of New Jersey and also plays an important role in keeping our oceans healthy and addressing the larger issue of climate change,” said Robert Doherty, Bank of America New Jersey President.  “As part of our commitment to the environment, Bank of America is proud to partner with Clean Ocean Action and their annual cleanup activities, which give our employees a chance to create meaningful change in their community.”

“Our beaches attract thousands of families, surfers and fishermen every summer and they are part of what makes it’s great to live in New Jersey. The health of our beaches is important to the environment, the economy and the tourism industry. I commend Clean Ocean Action and everyone who came out today for their hard work keeping our beaches clean.” Said Congressman Frank Pallone.

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Senator Jim Whelan joined the rally in Atlantic City where he thanked volunteers and encouraged everyone to be mindful of the daily role they can play in keeping the beaches clean and safe.  "Remembering the coastal connection, is key" Senator Whelan said.

Beach Sweepers routinely share the interesting items they find during their Sweeps, which are highlighted on the "Roster of the Ridiculous" found in the Annual Report.  At today's sweep, volunteers reported finding golf tees, a straw hat, bouquet of fresh flowers, fire extinguisher, hair brush, jump rope handle, car floor mat, 1/2 of many surfboards, numerous plastic straws and plastic shopping bags. 

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Preliminary data from the Sweeps at Sandy Hook highlight that 10,165 plastic pieces were collected, 9,061 food and candy wrappers, 9,021 plastic caps and lids, 3,887 straws, 200 lighters, 141 mylar balloons, 842 cigar tips,  238 pens, and 295 toys.  The comprehensive data from all 69 sites will be available in the 2011 Annual Report, which will be available online in early 2012.

Trash disposal and recycling was generously donated by Montecalvo Disposal Services

"It was amazing to see Beach Sweepers sharing their experiences online today," said Jennifer Thompson from Clean Ocean Action.   "Sweepers were tweeting #2011sweeps, encouraging friends to join them, and uploading their "unusual finds" today.  This year, volunteers have embraced sharing their Beach Sweeps experiences virtually!"  You can follow the social media action by following @cleanocean on Twitter, tracking the #2011sweeps hashtag and by "liking" Clean Ocean Action" on Facebook.

Businesses throughout the community sponsor the Beach Sweeps.  The Statewide Sponsors for the 2011 Beach Sweeps are Atlantic City Electric, Aveda, Bank of America, Comcast, Verizon, RICOH, Montecalvo Disposable Services, and John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean.  Additional statewide sponsorships include:  United Teletech Financial, and Wakefern ShopRite.  Individual site sponsors include Surfrider Foundation (Jersey Shore Chapter) for Allenhurst, Monmouth County Association of Realtors for Asbury Park, Brook 35 & West for Belmar and Spring Lake, Prudential/Jamie Patton and Rob Nigro for Belmar, NuStar Energy for Keyport, Enterprise Rent-A-Car/New Jersey Natural Gas/Wakefern ShopRite for Sandy Hook, The Grove for Sea Bright and Long Branch, Jenkinson’s Aquarium for Pt.Pleasant Beach, New Jersey American Water for Ocean City Union Beach, and Long Branch, Lower Cape May Regional Education Association for Wildwood Crest, and Adventure Aquarium for Ventnor.

To learn more about the Beach Sweeps and Clean Ocean Action, call 732-872-0111 or visit www.cleanoceanaction.org