Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, hosted in New Jersey by the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, took place on September 21.
Lower Township Recycling Coordinator Linda Thomas, her family, local volunteers and Lower Township Cub Scout Pack 87 joined thousands of volunteers worldwide who cleaned rivers, lakes, streams, bays and beaches of trash and debris.
Thomas said that Lower Township Cub Scout Pack 87 joined her family, including her husband John and daughter Tiffany and three grandchildren, for a two-hour cleanup along the bayside beaches at David Douglass Memorial Park. Cub Scout members included: Bryan Coassaboon Sr., Bryan Cossaboon Jr., Emma Cossaboon, Noel Cossaboon, Pat Furey, Colin Beckman, Liam Vandorn, James Jones, Harper Corea and Bryson Corea.
Thomas said that another group of about 30 adult volunteers also cleaned the bayside beaches near Harpoons on the Bay.
“There is a lot of support for keeping our beaches clean in Lower Township,” said Thomas. “People get involved and they like to help out and you especially see it with the kids. The kids are really into it. Last year my grandkids were asking me when they could help out again this year.”
The groups of volunteers compiled numerous bags of trash, but Thomas is encouraged by the numbers she is seeing.
“I’ve noticed a decrease in the amount of trash that is pulled off the beaches. We don’t get the large trash items that we used to. It is encouraging to see that the message of keeping the beaches and community clean may be working,” she said.
The majority of trash is smaller items such as cigarette butts, plastic bags, sandwich containers, glass bottles and cans, coffee cups, tissues, small alcohol bottles and fishing debris. Cigarette butts and plastic bags take the tops spots in the amount of trash and the oddest item this year was a windshield wiper, Thomas said.
Thomas is planning to publicly thank Cub Scout Pack 87 at an upcoming Lower Township Council Meeting and present them with a mini-grant to continue their cleanup projects throughout the township.
For over three decades, the Intercoastal Clean Up has inspired more than 12 million volunteers have collected over 220 million pounds of trash around the globe. Remember, you don’t have to wait for the next beach cleanup to help. The time you’re headed out to the beach or a nearby park, take along a small trash bag to pick up any trash you may find.