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The Good, Bad And Ridiculous Found On NJ Beaches [AUDIO]

Cigarette butts and plastic pieces top the list of items found on New Jersey’s beaches in 2012.

Clean Ocean Action Sandy Hook
Looking inside the dumpster holding collected items at Clean Ocean Action’s Sandy Hook event (Facebook)

Clean Ocean Action has released it’s Annual Beach Sweeps Report.

The Beach Sweeps are bi-annual events during which volunteers help clean the state’s beaches and waterways and record data on the items collected.

In 2012, 6,926 volunteers collected, tallied and removed more than 350,000 pieces of debris from New Jersey’s shoreline.

“Unfortunately, many of our Beach Captains were affected by Superstorm Sandy and were not able to return the volunteer collected data from the Fall Beach Sweeps. The numbers reflected in this year’s report, especially from the fall, should be considered conservative,” said Tavia Danch, Clean Ocean Action Program Manager. “One a brighter note, COA volunteers were able to remove nearly 148,000 pieces of debris before Sandy hit our coasts.”

“Beach Sweeps has become a tradition for the tall and the small to give back to their ocean, take a stand against litter and rid the shores of marine debris. Over the years, the list of items has changed and shifted, however what remains constant is the Jersey Pride people have for the real Jersey Shore and their commitment to improve the environment,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action. “This year is like no other.”

“Our beaches have been profoundly altered by Superstorm Sandy. Dunes and dune grasses are gone. Large debris has piled up along the shorelines and is in our waterways. How these may impact Beach Sweeps may provide some interesting and valuable insights.”

Cigarette filters reclaimed the top spot on the list. Volunteers counted nearly 50,000, representing more than 14 percent of all trash picked up last year. Miscellaneous plastic pieces came in at number two at 43,777.

More than 38,000 plastic caps and bottle lids were found along with 33,162 food or candy bags and 22,094 foam pieces. Thousands of glass fragments, intact bottles, beverage cans and pieces of lumber were picked up.

What Were the Oddest Items Found?

Among the most unusual things found were a toilet seat, a fully decorated Christmas tree, hair rollers, a hair clip with fake hair attached, false eyelashes, theatrical blood, vampire teeth, a wicker sofa and a Yoda doll head. Hooks, sinkers and crab and lobster traps were found along with nails, paper bags and underwear.

“This year’s Beach Sweep is particularly important as Sea Bright prepares to open for the summer season. Our businesses are working hard to be open for the summer, and all the borough departments are preparing the town to be ready for the traditional start of the summer on Memorial Day weekend,” said Frank Lawrence, Sea Bright Volunteer Coordinator. “The volunteers who help clean up our beaches will bring us one step closer to recovery from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.”

Clean Ocean Action has been conducting Beach Sweeps along the Jersey Shore for 26 years.

Info for Volunteers

This year, the group’s Spring Beach Sweeps will be held April 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at more than 60 spots along the Jersey Shore. Volunteers should bring gloves, dress for the weather, apply sunscreen and wear closed-toed, hard soled shoes.

To view the report online and to get a complete list of site locations and details, visit them online.

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MORE: NJ Beach Guide

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