Today millions of volunteers around the globe will participate in beach cleanup activities in observation of International Coastal Cleanup Day.
For over 30 years the Ocean Conservancy has worked to clean up our coasts through their initiative, Fighting for Trash Free Seas ®, with a goal of ending the flow of trash at its source. The organization sponsors beach cleanup events as one way of accomplishing this goal, as trash left behind by beachgoers is a major source of ocean pollution. During these events, volunteers comb their local beaches and waterways to clear the area of trash. In addition to sponsoring the international cleanup efforts, the program collects and shares data about the type of trash found so that they may formulate effective prevention efforts. In three decades of Ocean Conservancy beach cleanup events, over 12 million people have collected 220 million pounds of trash from beaches around the world.
Imagine the impact 220 million pounds of trash would have on our marine ecosystem had that debris not been collected!
As part of its efforts to involve the public, the Ocean Conservancy created Clean Swell™, an app that allows users to collect trash from the beach or ocean and record what it is they found and where they found it. The individual data input becomes part of the global database, allowing scientists and conservationists to gain insight into what is entering the ocean, identify trends and create possible solutions. The information also allows them to learn more about how the trash is impacting marine life. The app stores historical data so that users can see what their efforts have yielded in terms of the areas they’ve cleaned up and the weight of trash collected.
While we do not know of any locally organized events scheduled for today (September 16), on September 23, 2017, Sea Isle City is scheduled to hold its annual Beach Cleanup Day. More local efforts are slated for October (see below).
Locally, another non-profit organization is dedicated to improving the water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey and New York coasts. The Clean Ocean Action is a coalition of 125 active environmental, conservation, boating, fishing, diving, business and community organizations that work to clean up and protect our local waters. The coalition researches pollution issues affecting the local marine environment and formulates policies and campaigns designed to eliminate the identified pollution sources. Using a collaborative combination of press events, rallies, letter-writing campaigns, public hearing testimony and the collective expertise of individual members, the group has been instrumental in the closing of 8 ocean dumpsites, formulating effective clean water laws and creating a greater public awareness of the ocean’s health and well-being.
In 1985, Clean Ocean Action initiated its own brand of beach cleanup called “Beach Sweeps”. This year, the following towns will be hosting Beach Sweeps on October 21, 2017:
Avalon – 32nd Street Beach
Cape May – 1600 Delaware Avenue (Nature Center of Cape May) and 2nd Avenue Beach (Jetty Motel)
Ocean City – Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk (Ocean City Music Pier)
Stone Harbor – 96th Street Beach
Wildwood – Poplar Avenue Beach (Groff’s Restaurant)
Wildwood Crest– Fern and Ocean Ave (Centennial Park)
Villas – Village Rd. and Bay Drive (meet at the dead end by the beach access)
There are so many of us who visit and enjoy our beaches and ocean each year, and this is a perfect way to thank these beautiful natural resources by taking care of them so that they do not suffer irreparable harm from human interaction. If you are unable to participate in any of these local beach cleanup efforts, please check out our post on Five Things You Can Do To Protect Our Ocean. Also, check back in the spring because each town hosts annual spring beach cleanup events as well.