Debris removed from borough in Clean Ocean Action beach sweeps

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Point Pleasant Beach shorelines were cleaned this past weekend as volunteers came out to sweep the beach for Clean Ocean Action’s [COA] annual spring event. 

The borough joined over 60 other locations up and down the Jersey Shore collecting waste along the beach and tallying collection information.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium and Maryland Avenue were the two entry sites for volunteers during this year’s sweep.  Throughout the day, hundreds of volunteers hit the beach to help just before the start of the busy summer season. 

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According to Point Pleasant Beach Environmental Commission Chairman Peter Ritchings, the beach sweeps help the borough stay on top of debris in their waterways. 

“During the summer months, most of the beaches around here are maintained by either the beach owners or the township, but certainly in the offseason, there is no shortage of accumulation of debris,” said Mr. Ritchings. “Anytime we can get unwanted debris out of the environment and in its proper place it’s a good thing.”

Mr. Ritchings said as well as its impact on the environment, beach cleanups also give volunteers a safe place to give back to their communities. 

“The beaches are nice places and good places to clean up, and especially in the offseason,” he said. “It’s a safe place … I’ve been involved with volunteer efforts in the past where we were sometimes along the road and things like that, where there was a little bit more of a safety concern.”

He said to match the Clean Ocean Action sweep, the environmental commission often does clean-ups throughout town. 

Clean Ocean Action’s spring beach sweep serves as a way to clean up the beach just before the bustling summer season, especially those seen in Point Pleasant Beach. 

Clean Ocean Action recently released its 2020 Beach Sweeps Report, which tallied the work of around 4,000 socially-distanced volunteers who participated in its sweeps.

The group’s spring 2020 sweep was canceled due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. 

Volunteers removed over 185,000 items at 60 locations in just three hours during last year’s fall sweeps, the group said. 

“Over the decades, proof of our wasteful ways flowed with the times onto our beaches — from medical waste to cassette tapes to cell phones to vaping caps,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action. “Fortunately, there is one true blue contestant, the dedication of people who love the Jersey Shore and the ocean. Together they represent COA’s Beach Sweep family — supporters, beach captains, volunteers [small and the tall] — who all help to remove litter and provide the evidence needed to reduce pollution.”

Beach sweeps data collected by volunteers prove the negative impact debris makes on New Jersey beaches, COA officials said in a press release. That information is used to push laws and policies to reduce the sources.

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