Fall Beach Sweeps At The Jersey Shore
The coastal community of Belmar, New Jersey, is one of more than 70 locations in need of volunteers for the 37th annual Clean Ocean Action Fall Beach Sweeps. The beach cleanup will take place Saturday, October 22, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at all sites statewide.
In addition to the two sites in Belmar (3rd Avenue and 16th Avenue beaches), nearby Jersey Shore towns involved in the cleanup effort include Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Manasquan, Ocean Grove, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.
This family-friendly event is a great way to enjoy time outdoors while also doing something good to help sea life and the environment. Volunteers may participate as individuals or in small groups. All volunteers must pre-register separately for the event and sign an electronic waiver on the Clean Ocean Action website. You will be asked to show your confirmation email upon your arrival at the beach cleanup site. Those who have not pre-registered will need to register and sign the waiver via their smartphone the day of the event.
Bring gloves and wear shoes or boots that are sturdy enough for walking in the sand. Refreshments will not be provided, so bring your own snacks and water. The Clean Ocean Action is also encouraging volunteers to bring their own buckets for trash collection to minimize the use of plastic bags.
Read the full list of Clean Ocean Action COVID-19 guidelines and FAQ for this event.
During previous Beach Sweeps in Belmar, volunteers have included students and scout troops from Jackson, Freehold, Howell, and Tinton Falls, New Jersey — and even a busload of high schoolers from Pennsbury School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The spring 2023 Beach Sweeps will take place April 8.
Making A Difference
According to the Clean Ocean Action, over 157,000 volunteers have eliminated nearly 8 million pieces of trash from New Jersey coastlines and waterways since the inception of this pollution-prevention program in 1985.
During the COA’s 2021 spring and fall cleanup events, 10,003 volunteers joined the effort along the Jersey coast. They collected and disposed of more than 513,000 total items across all cleanup sites — an all-time high.
Key findings from the 2021 Beach Sweeps Report include:
82.32 percent of debris collected was plastic, including foam.
Plastic bottle caps/lids reached a record number of 69,454 pieces.
Food and candy wrappers/bags also reached a record number of 58,589, a 16.55 percent increase from 2019.
Not surprisingly, personal protective equipment (PPE), such as used face coverings and disposable gloves, was a new type of beach litter cataloged during the beach cleanup in fall 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend continued in 2021, the COA notes, with over 3,500 face masks and 1,310 disposable gloves retrieved by Beach Sweeps volunteers.
Also in 2021, for the first time, the COA began cataloging the collection and disposal of plastic dog-waste bags, dental picks, disposable wipes, cotton ear swabs, plastic takeout containers, and electronic cigarette components — totaling 11,342 items combined.
In an effort to prevent ocean pollution, Belmar enacted a ban on single-use plastic bags, which took effect May 1, 2019. In 2021, Belmar officials subsequently implemented a town-wide ban on styrofoam takeout food containers and plastic straws in 2021. Bait shops may still use plastic bags, and straws are available upon customer request only.
Belmar was also first shore town to prohibit smoking on the beach, which is now banned on every beach in New Jersey. A statewide ban on plastic bags, paper grocery bags, and styrofoam containers went into effect on May 4, 2022. This state law supersedes all local ordinances.
In addition, beginning May 2024, New Jersey will no longer allow use of long-handled disposable polystyrene foam spoons, portion cups of two ounces or less for foods requiring lids, raw meat and fish trays, and prepackaged items with polystyrene foam for food service. Read more about “Bag Up New Jersey.”
Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
Day trips down the shore are fun, but it’s even better to rent a beach house for the week to experience everything wonderful about the Belmar area. For couples, solo adults and small families, the two-bedroom Blue Hydrangea Cottage rental in Belmar, New Jersey, is the perfect getaway place. The home sleeps up to four people and is consistently rated five stars for cleanliness, amenities and location. Learn more at www.vacationinbelmar.com.
RELATED: Visit Belmar, New Jersey
Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.