Fall 2021 Beach Clean Up –
The Stone Harbor beach clean up was conducted on Saturday Oct 23 from 9-12:30, during a mid and rising tide. The weather was pleasant and 53 volunteers participated along with 3 Beach captains / co-captains, from the SH Property Owners Assoc., and 2 junior captains from Wildwood Crest. There were 14 registered no-shows which were more than compensated for by additional “day-of” registrants. All SH beaches were assigned and cleaned from 80th St south to the last breakwater past 122nd street. The first mile or so of the Stone harbor point was also cleaned, where accessible, with help from SHPD volunteers who used a beach vehicle to remove some larger debris, mostly driftwood.
A common theme was that all beaches, with one exception, were very clean and that most of the trash was removed from the dunes. This has been true in previous years as well. (SH allows dune entrance for these events only and trash is heavier there as it blows in and gets trapped in vegetation). The “exception” beach was in the area from 80th – 83rd st and based on the debris removed appears to have a large contribution from the nearby motel guests. It is recommended that the hotels be made aware of this and try to encourage their guests to keep the beaches clean and possibly provide additional trash receptacles and periodic cleaning.
10 30-gallon bags of trash and 4 13-gallon bags of recycling were collected along with some large debris that was deposited next to the dumpster, made of mostly large driftwood from the point. It is estimated that ~ 300 lb. of trash, excluding the large debris, was collected. About 1/3 of the volunteers brought buckets to help minimize the number of bags used.
There were a large number of dog waste bags which is disappointing as the Borough provides specific receptacles for this waste. As mandatory mask use has been terminated there were very few discarded masks this fall. Consistent with past beach sweeps food/candy wrappers, cigarette filters, and foam plastic were among the most common items collected, but store bags and straws/stirrers were noticeably down, presumably in part to reduced usage. Plastic continues to dominate the composition of the trash with metal and glass considerably smaller. There were a number of Juul e-cigarette items found, but all on one beach. As NJ beaches are now mostly smoke free most cigarette filters are at the beach entrances, the Borough may want to consider ways to combat this.
A special thanks to SH Public Works who supplied a table, several chairs, and trash pickers to help with our efforts. Other participating organizations include SHPD, SHPOA, “the Beach Babes” and Science Rocks.
One final comment for the Borough – a significant number of the adult participants commented on the poor conditions of the beaches with respect to beach width. The 2 late season Bermuda Hurricanes (Larry, Sam) and the associated high tides and strong waves washed away much of our summer beach berm build. A number of our beaches are at high risk as we head into the winter season.