SANDY HOOK, NJ – Today, an estimated 4,000 volunteers hit the beaches to participate in Clean Ocean Action's (COA) 25th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps at 69 sites throughout New Jersey.  Volunteers removed and catalogued thousands of pieces of debris to document ongoing pollution issues.

“The Beach Sweeps program is much more than collecting people’s trash, rather it is an educational tool that strives to raise awareness about the severity of the local pollution problem,” stated Tavia Danch, COA’s Pollution Prevention Coordinator. “Volunteers participating in the Sweeps complete data cards, which are reviewed, compiled, and analyzed by Clean Ocean Action,” added Danch.

The data collected at the Spring Beach Sweeps will be combined with data from this year's Fall Beach Sweeps, 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.

In 2009, 5,556 volunteers collected over 300,000 pieces of debris from 65 locations during the combined Spring and Fall cleanups (the complete 2009 Annual Beach Sweep report is posted on COA’s website).

“The beaches were trashed this winter and spring by storms, and friends of the ocean stepped up to their aid, as they have for 25 years, said Cindy Zipf.  “The power of citizens is extraordinary,” she added.

However, there is still a mood of celebration since Governor Christie announced on Earth Day this week that he will reject any Liquefied Natural Gas facility off our shores as long as he is Governor, and he will oppose offshore drilling for oil and gas that will threaten the Jersey shore.

“This is truly a time for jubilation thanks to Governor Christie’s outstanding leadership for the ocean,” said Zipf.

2010 Highlights:

US Representative Frank Pallone (D-6), NJ State Senator Sean Kean (R-11), and Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet and Freeholder and Comcast Vice President Rob Clifton attended the Beach Sweeps rally at Sandy Hook and supported the volunteers’ efforts. Congressman Pallone later joined 100 volunteers at Pier Village in Long Branch to help clean up the site.

Senator James Whelan encouraged 350-400 Atlantic City volunteers who came including the Texas Avenue Elementary School and buildOn.org, an after-school service program from Philadelphia who partners with communities in developing countries to build schools.

Girl Scout Troop #1351 from Wall, NJ and eighty other volunteers came to clean up the 16th Avenue Beach in Belmar and at 1st Avenue Beach in Belmar a young Beach Sweeper found a bikini.

 

Monmouth Beach volunteers found a boat gasoline tank while Sea Bright volunteers found everything including a kitchen sink and a truck tire.

 

Tires were found in Keyport along with a bed sheet, pants and underwear.  Union Beach volunteers found a sled.  100 volunteers came to clean up Keansburg.  Ideal Beach in Middletown drew in about 40-50 people and large pieces of foam were found there and at the Snug Harbor and Popamore Point sites in Highlands.

 

Two man and woman human shaped candles bound with tape were found at Port Monmouth Bayshore Waterfront Park.

17,166 bottle caps were collected from Sandy Hook alone where 1200 volunteers came to participate in today’s Beach Sweeps.  Among the thousands of other items collected at Sandy Hook volunteers also found 94 different shoes.  All data results will be available when the 2010 annual report is completed at the end of the year.

A number of businesses partner with COA to sponsor the Beach Sweeps.  The Statewide Sponsors for the 2010 Beach Sweeps are Aveda, Bank of America, Comcast, and Verizon.  The South Jersey sponsor is Atlantic City Electric. Additional sponsorships include: Bayshore Recycling, Brook 35 & West, Monmouth County Realtors Association, New Jersey American Water, New Jersey Natural Gas, Patagonia, United Teletech Financial, and Wakefern ShopRite. Individual site sponsors include: Surfrider Foundation, Jersey Shore Chapter for Deal; NuStar Energy for Keansburg; Enterprise Rent-A-Car for Sandy Hook; Adventure Aquarium for Ventnor City; and Lower Cape May Regional Education Association for Wildwood Crest. In-kind support provided by Becton, Dickinson and Company, Clif Bar, IHOP Neptune & Keyport, and Wakefern ShopRite.

To learn more about the Beach Sweeps and Clean Ocean Action, call 732-872-0111 or visit www.cleanoceanaction.org.  The next statewide COA Beach Sweeps is scheduled for October 23, 2010.