The Shore Blog

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Organizations Protecting Our Coastal Eco-system

Organizations Protecting Our Coastal Eco-system

Plastics have caused a global crisis for our oceans. Single-use plastics pose a significant danger to the planet. Plastics create huge debris fields in the ocean. As a result, they endanger the lives of marine animals. Therefore, if we don’t control the issue now, we will lose our precious resources. Fortunately, there are many organizations working to protect our coastal eco-system.

These organizations have taken a stand against plastic litter. For example, they have put a ban on plastics and are raising awareness. Others are organizing beach sweeps and retrieving debris from the ocean. And some companies are creating eco-friendly products. Many governmental agencies have banned the use of certain plastics. Read on to learn which organizations are working to protect our coastal eco-system.

The Wetlands Institute

wetlandsinstitute6The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor does an excellent job educating public about our ecosystem. Their lessons include the importance of local species, threats and how to protect them. They do this through information sharing, educational presentations, hands-on learning activities and events.

Ocean Conservancy

Organizations like Ocean Conservancy help educate us. They inform us of the impact trash has on the ecosystem. In 2012, Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash Free Seas Alliance®. The purpose of this initiative is to unite industry, science and conservation to research and share information. They share the data they collect with the public, scientific community and decision makers. Additionally, they work to keep trash from entering the waters. They do this by working with individuals, businesses and government organizations to change practices and develop innovative solutions.

Clean Ocean Action

cleancleanoceanLocal programs such as Clean Ocean Action organize beach sweeps. Clean Ocean Action  (COA) is a coalition of 125 organizations and community groups. Together they work to  clean up and protect the waters of the New York Bight. The organization was created in 1984 to research pollution issues affecting the marine environment. They formulate policy and campaigns to eliminate each pollution source. The group also organizes events and inform the community about the importance of keeping our ocean clean.

A year after organizing, the group created New Jersey’s first beach sweep. The beach sweeps now occur twice a year. In addition to collecting trash, volunteers record their findings. The data is shared in an annual report which identifies sources of debris and trends in pollution. This report helps inform policy.

NJ Department of Environmental Protection

cleannj.jpgNJ Department of Environmental Protection also offers an “Adopt a Beach” program. This volunteer initiative allows groups to adopt a small section of beach or waterfront area. The group agrees  to keep their adopted area free of litter and debris by organizing cleanups, at least 2 per year, for one year or longer.


4Ocean was founded to help end the ocean plastic crisis. This non-profit organization partners with local fishermen and community members. The group hires boat captains and crew  to recover plastic debris they find in the ocean and on beaches. They then track it and prepare it for recycling. They also install barricades at the mouths of rivers to stop the flow of plastic and trash into the ocean. To fund their mission, 4Ocean sells bracelets made from post-consumer recycled materials. Each purchase of the bracelet funds the removal of one pound of plastic from the ocean.

Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network”. Their network of chapters, including one for the Jersey Shore, engages in campaigns to fight for the protection of the coast, brings awareness of the issues and advocates for positive change as they sharing a mutual love and appreciation of the shore’s natural resources.

Airline Ban on Plastics

cleanairline.pngMany organizations are banning the use of plastics.  Delta Airlines has removed single-use plastic items from their service. This includes stir sticks, wrappers, utensils and straws. This is expected to eliminate more than 300,000 pounds in plastic waste annually. That is more than the weight of two Boeing 757 aircraft! Joining this effort are other major airlines, including American Airlines and United. 

Shore Towns Ban Plastic Bags

On June 1, 2019, the shore towns of Avalon, Stone Harbor and Brigantine banned single-use plastic bags. These towns joined 32 countries, 9 states and multiple towns and municipalities in banning bags. The ban means that retailers will no longer be allowed to offer plastic bags to customers. Avalon and Stone Harbor are also banning retailers from offering plastic straws, utensils or food containers made from Styrofoam. A fine of up to $500 may be imposed for repeat offenses.

cleanplasticbag.jpgLegislators in the State of New Jersey are advocating to follow Avalon and Stone Harbor in making a difference. Currently there are two bills that would create a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and harmful polystyrene foam. If this passes, New Jersey would be the first state to ban all three items, which are some of the most commonly-found items littering New Jersey beaches and waterways.

Manufacturers Making a Difference

Many companies manufacture ecofriendly products. Sand Cloud, Ocean & Company and Bee’s Wrap are eco-friendly manufacturers. These companies create metal straws, composable food storage bags and reusable water bottles.

Do you know of other organizations protecting our coastal eco-system? Have you reduced your usage of plastic or picked up trash on the beach? If so, please send us a message below. We’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Organizations Protecting Our Coastal Eco-system

  1. Thanks for providing this resource! Now those looking to get involved can reach out to these organizations to partner with them in their efforts to keep the beaches and the ocean clean, and protect the ocean’s inhabitants.

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