Record number of beaches cleared of ugly, harmful trash

Magic Wand, Stuffed Horse, Solar Panel, and Dead-Gutted Shark Found

Coastal New Jersey – Yesterday, thousands of volunteers hit the beaches to participate in Clean Ocean Action's (COA) 27th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps at 75 sites along the Jersey Shore-- a record number of sites. Volunteers removed and catalogued each piece of debris to document ongoing pollution issues.  Robust crowds were reported up and down the coast.

“Human trash pollutes every shoreline in the world and throughout the global ocean.  Human trash not only makes beaches ugly, it maims and kills marine life.  We must do more to reduce plastic pollution and Beach Sweeps are one way citizens can help.  Their response is inspiring. In 1985 we started with 75 people on one beach and today have 75 locations and thousands of volunteers. People love the beach and ocean and are proud of the real Jersey Shore, it is inspiring and our elected officials should take note.” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of COA. 

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.  Clean Ocean Action released the 2011 Annual Beach Sweep last week (available at


“The Beach Sweeps helps to raise public awareness about how debris enters the marine environment, as well as the types, quantities, and sources of marine debris,” stated Tavia Danch, COA’s Education Coordinator for Pollution Prevention.  “The volunteer Beach Sweep Captains are the champions of the day for organizing each of the sites”, she added.

“Volunteers are encouraged to make the connection between what they are removing from the beach and their everyday decisions, such as the consumerism of single-use plastics. Volunteers learned, first- hand, the negative impacts of single-use plastics on the coastal environment, in addition to the small changes they can make in their everyday lives to prevent pollution,” added Danch.

The Spring Beach Sweeps were made possible by support from generous sponsors.  The Statewide Sponsors for the 2012 Beach Sweeps are Atlantic City Electric, Aveda, Bank of America, Comcast, Montecalvo Material Recovery Facility, Surfers’ Environmental Alliance, Verizon, and Wakefern/ShopRite.

Spring 2012 Rally Highlights from Elected Officials:  US Senator Robert Menendez and US Representative Frank Pallone attended the Beach Sweeps rally at Sandy Hook and greeted over 1000 volunteers.  They then collected and tallied trash with students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology.    State Senator Joe Kyrillos spoke at the Atlantic City Rally, and was joined by his family to clean the beach to keep the marine environment clean.


Sandy Hook Highlights:  Over 1200 volunteers attended the event and collected:

Top three items:,  8,705 plastic pieces, 8384 foam pieces, 7527 food wrappers, 6665 plastic caps and lids.

Selected items:    94 Six-pack holders, 141 shotgun shells, 45 shoes,  564 plastic utensils.

Unusual: hair clip with fake hair, solar panel, lottery tix, flip-flop, flash drive, life jacket, magic wand  fussy stuffing material, hair rollers, stuffed horse, dog tags, and plastic strawberries.

In Seaside Park a 4 foot dead, gutted shark was found near 2nd Avenue Beach.

For photographs go to Clean Ocean Action’s Facebook page.

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