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Reaching out on the beach

Clean Sweep program helps rid shore of trash and debris

Created date

September 22nd, 2009

In 1985, an environmental protection group called Clean Ocean Action launched the region s first Beach Sweep program to rid the New Jersey shoreline of unsightly and environmentally harmful litter. Today, the program has expanded into one of the longest running cleanups of its kind in the world. The program has grown from 75 people at one site to 5,163 volunteers up and down the New York and New Jersey shoreline.

On the same team

Seabrookresidents and staff members pitched in and helped clean up the Jersey Shore during the Beach Sweep held this past spring. They had such a good time that many of the same residents have volunteered for the upcoming fall event. It is a great program, resident Anne Zarrello says. We worked at Bradley Beach and cleaned up a lot of plastic and paper and things like that. It s amazing what collects on the shoreline. This past spring, the group from Seabrook gathered at 9 a.m. on the beach by the Fifth Avenue entrance, near the gazebo in Bradley Beach, and worked there until noon. The Seabrook contingent was made up of a dozen residents who are part of Seabrook s resident volunteer program, six staff members who are part of the community sEricksonWay Committee, and six student employees who work in Seabrook s restaurants. Volunteers collected garbage, placed it in bags, and then gave the items over to Clean Ocean Action so the organization could catalogue the trash. Subsequent studies and reports were prepared following the cleanup to help advance federal, state, and local programs to reduce litter.

A great way to spend a day

I guess I m really an environmentalist at heart, says Seabrook resident and Beach Sweep volunteer Lori Goldschmidt. I try to do as much as possible and to do my part. And really, this is a bonding experience too. It s nice to get together with several like-minded people to try and make a difference. This is a wonderful way for our residents and staff to become engaged in an activity with a positive purpose, says Seabrook Executive Director Art Sparks. I commend this group of proactive individuals for their commitment to not only helping to protect the environment but for helping to contribute to the true spirit of teamwork. Zarrello says, It s held rain or shine so we were lucky this past spring to get a great day. I hope we are as fortunate this fall. It s nice to be able to do something that helps the community, and you can leave feeling good about your actions. Plus, I love to walk anyway, so it was hardly an effort. It was more like a good day, spent with friends, strolling on the beach.

The dirty dozen

The top 12 ' most found ' items during ' the 2008 ' Beach Sweep include:

41,900 cigarette filters 33,282 plastic caps & lids 31,145 plastic food wrappers/bags 19,616 plastic pieces 17,957 plastic straws & stirrers 12,416 foam plastic pieces 11,474 plastic beverage/soda bottles 6,679 plastic cigar tips 5,757 paper pieces 5,523 plastic store/shopping bags 4,867 beverage cans 4,675 plastic cap rings (from bottles)