By MADDY VITALE
Volunteers concerned about the environment can participate in an annual cleanup to beautify Ocean City’s shoreline by removing trash and other debris from the beaches and dunes this Saturday, Oct. 23.
Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweep draws hundreds of environmentally conscious people each year to clean up the city’s beaches and help marine life in the process.
“Certainly, we appreciate it when citizens pitch in to keep our beaches clean,” Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian, said Wednesday.
The cleanup is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will meet up at the Ocean City Music Pier, where they can register for the event. They will be given black bags for trash and clear ones for recyclables. The city’s Public Works staff will collect the bags on the beaches.
In addition to the bags, volunteers will receive data cards, which are an important part of the cleanup because it will help with recording the items found.
The volunteers can write down all of their finds and the information will be forwarded to Clean Ocean Action and New Jersey Clean Communities.
The organizations use the information to help educate, spread awareness about the environment and continue to try and prevent further pollution of the state’s beaches and waterways.
“Besides being a great neighborly thing to do, the cleanup is an opportunity to collect data of the different debris that we find on the beaches to send to Clean Ocean Action and New Jersey Clean Communities,” Allegretto noted.
The event was canceled in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, officials hope for a great turnout such as the ones in prior years.
Over the years, there have been some interesting discoveries.
While the most common debris found are cigarette butts, plastic bags and bottles, there have been some not-so-common items retrieved from the beaches.
One volunteer found a giant rusted screw in 2019 and in 2018 a person found pieces of a whale’s jaw. Toys, including Barbie dolls, have also been discovered.
But whatever the debris, Allegretto said it is great that people are so willing to lend a hand to clean up the city’s beaches.
“This is certainly in addition to daily cleaning during the summer season,” he said. “But obviously, with seasonal staff, these cleanups really help keep the beaches clean.”
And the city’s Public Works Department has a lot to do with it, he added.
Each year, the supervisor of Public Works, Charlotte Moyer, helps coordinate the event.
“We want to thank the department of Public Works for taking the lead every year in helping to clean the beaches and assist in the collection of the debris,” Allegretto said.
Anyone who would like to pre-register and pick up their supplies may do so on Friday at the Henry Knight Building, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., at 115 12th Street.