A number of local communities are participating in today's 28th annual International Coastal Cleanup, including locations in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

"Why? It's good for the environment and for science," said Emelia Oleson, who's organized the event in Cape May Point for 13 years. Last year, it drew about 40 people, although it's never certain how many will come out to Borough Hall at 8:30 a.m.

In addition to picking up trash and debris, Oleson said, the volunteers record how much has been collected.

The cleanups - which are organized by municipalities and private individuals - are sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy and included 500,000 volunteers last year.

Brigantine, meanwhile, is the location of a cleanup program by the nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council, which is asking the public to help clean seven miles of beach.

Vickie Bello, a spokeswoman for the group, said the beaches - including ones in Matawan, Monmouth County, and Paterson, Passaic County - are near the 30 dirtiest waterways in the state, according to information collected by the council.

The organization was created as a result of the Clean Communities Act in 1986 and regularly hosts cleanups statewide.

Bello said Brigantine registration begins 9 a.m. at the 17th Street South beach. A total of seven miles of beach will be cleaned by the volunteers, with the project wrapping up at about noon.

"Just show up and all the equipment will be provided," she said.

Volunteers will also receive free gifts, such as Frisbee discs and tote bags. Organizations seeking Clean Communities grants are required to take part in the event.

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