Nearly 7,000 volunteers collected 350,000 pieces of debris at Clean Ocean Action’s 2012 “Beach Sweeps,” in which New Jersey citizens organize to collect garbage on the Jersey shore. The semiannual event has become New Jersey’s largest environmental function, according to COA. Last year’s fall event was conducted just nine days before Hurricane Sandy hit, making the need for beach cleanups even greater.
In general, plastic is the most common debris collected during beach sweeps, making up about 83 percent of the items. The number one item picked up in 2012 was a cigarette filter (49,362), followed by plastic pieces (43,777), caps and lids (38,349), food and candy wrappers (33,162), and pieces of foam (22,094.)
Volunteers also picked up a toilet seat, hair rollers, a girdle, surgical boots, seats, a fire extinguisher, and a fully decorated Christmas tree.
The next beach sweep is scheduled for April 27. More information on how to get involved is posted online.