A report issued by the environmental nonprofit organization Clean Ocean Action paints a grim picture of New Jersey beaches.
In their Annual Beach Sweep report for 2010, the organization broke down the 475,321 pieces of trash its 8,372 volunteers removed from New Jersey beaches during two statewide clean-up events last year.
The report shows record numbers of many pieces of litter including 43,113 food wrappers, 61,895 bottle caps and lids and 45,903 cigarette filters. These items, along with pieces of plastic, straws, foam, beverage bottles, pieces of lumber, cigar tips, shopping bags, miscellaneous paper and glass were the most frequently found items on New Jersey beaches.
Some less common, and some surprising items were also removed during the clean-up efforts. Four televisions, an area rug, undergarments and various clothing, auto parts and even a kitchen sink were included on Clean Ocean Action's "Roster of the Ridiculous," a list of odd items found on beaches.
Now in its 26th year, Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps have seen more than 85,000 volunteers and have collected more than 4.5 million pieces of refuse from New Jersey beaches.
This year, Clean Ocean Action will their first set of beach sweeps on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Locally, clean-ups will be done in Avon at the Pavilion beach near Norwood Avenue, in Bradley Beach at Fifth Avenue beach, in Brielle at the Fisk Avenue beach and the public access point near the drawbridge, in Manasquan at the Main Street beach, in Ocean Grove at the Main Avenue beach, in Sea Girt at the Beacon Boulevard beach and in Spring Lake at the South End Pavilion.
For a complete listing of Beach Sweep locations and more information, visit Clean Ocean Action's website.
"Though overall beaches, waterways and the ocean are cleaner and healthier today thanks to you," Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, told volunteers in a letter, "much more needs to done."
"Beaches get trashed, vast ocean areas are infused with plastics and hundreds of thousands of animals die each year due to marine debris," she writes. "This is an undeniably human-caused tragedy."