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Everything leads to the ocean

Will these items make it to Clean Action Ocean’s 2023 Roster of the Ridiculous” list?

Annual beach sweeps help create a cleaner tomorrow

A Clean Ocean Action “Beach Sweep” was scheduled for Palmyra Cove Nature Park earlier this month, but was canceled due to inclement weather.

The park was just a number of places around the state where beach sweeps were scheduled. In fact, it was the first time in its 38-year history, Clean Ocean Action (COA) had to cancel their beach sweeps.

However, due to popular demand by towns and volunteers, the event was rescheduled on April 15.

Beach sweeps are important for places such as the Palmyra Cove Nature Park (PCNP), which is a 250-acre urban oasis along a highly developed area on the Delaware River. Habitats include wetlands, woodlands, meadows, wild creek and river shoreline, and a freshwater Tidal Cove after which the park is named, according to its website.

Trash on the beaches hinder the well-being of the environment and wildlife.

COA shared jarring statistics from its 2022 Beach Sweeps report. Some 376,969 items were picked up on the beaches of New Jersey – from Perth Amboy (Middlesex County) to Cape May (Cape May County) to additional sites along the Delaware River and northern parts of the state – during its two annual beach sweeps they host in the fall and spring.

Thousands of volunteers put in thousands of hours in over 70 locations and help create a cleaner tomorrow, COA officials said.

Cindy Zipf, executive director of COA, knows just how important these volunteer hours are.

“If you want to change the world, people power is the answer. The Beach Sweeps is proof positive of that fact. We are grateful and inspired by the dedication and true-blue spirit of volunteers, especially Beach Sweep captains who are the heart and soul of these successful events,” Cindy Zipf remarked.

During the rescheduled Beach Sweeps, volunteers had a little fun with a photo contest for the most unusual items found, which find their way to the Beach Sweep’s report of “Roster of the Ridiculous” list.

From items as out of place as Jell-O molds to items as large as a lawn mower, the 2022 Roster was a reminder that everything leads to the ocean, and the things we get rid of do not disappear but become smaller or wash-up somewhere else.

Some of the recent finds include a pink pallet in Sandy Hook, a blowfish in Seaside Park, and a buoy, a shopping cart and a tent in Asbury Park.

Kira Cruz, debris free sea coordinator and one of COA’s newest staff members, decided to highlight the 2023 “Roster of the Ridiculous” segment with a photo contest.

Volunteers submit what they consider the most “ridiculous” items they discovered during their cleanup. After COA chooses the top five items, the public will be left to vote for No. 1 across all our social media platforms. The winner will get a spotlight feature in the 2023 Beach Sweeps report and win a COA prize.

For more information, visit CleanOceanAction.org. The next COA beach sweep is scheduled for Oct. 21.

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