Volunteers Beautify O.C. Beaches in Cleanup

first_imgA Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep in Ocean City is scheduled for Oct. 26. By Maddy VitaleA giant, rusted screw, a cover for a workout weight, large hunks of Styrofoam and plenty of plastic bottles filled the trash bags of the Figueroa and Zbikowski families, who joined forces and ventured onto the beach Saturday morning for Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweep in Ocean City.“Last year we found a piece of a whale’s jaw,” said Alexander Figueroa, 14, of Pine Hill, N.J. “We also found a teddy bear. It was so heavy because it had been in the water.”This year was a bit less exciting, they admitted, but it did yield the removal of a lot of plastic off the beaches and make way for visitors to enjoy pristine beaches and marine life to be safer from the threat of choking on plastic bags or other garbage.Angela Zbikowski brought her daughters, Nicola, 7, and Krista, 15, along for the cleanup.“We are here for vacation every year and we love keeping the beaches clean,” she said.Nicola said it made her happy to clean the beaches. “We love doing it for the community,” she said.Beach Cleanup Coordinator Charlotte Moyer speaks with Vincent and Patti Colucci, of Bergen County, before they head out to clean the beaches.More than 300 participants lined up throughout the morning into the early afternoon to get their rubber gloves and trash bags at the Ocean City Music Pier.Charlotte Moyer, supervisor for Ocean City Public Works and one of the coordinators of the event, said despite the winds, the beach sweep was going very well.“There is a lot of wind, but people are still out there picking up litter,” Moyer said as she handed volunteers a sign-in sheet. “It is a great way to start the season off. We really appreciate everything people do.”The cleanup is designed to not only beautify the beaches, but also make it safer for marine life and protect the coastal environment.Volunteers took to the sands in search of litter and debris during the 34rd annual Spring Beach Sweep hosted by Clean Ocean Action.Among the volunteers were the Coluccis from Bergen County. They visit Ocean City often to see friends.“It is a good getaway,” said Patti Colucci. “We’ve come down to do the cleanups a couple of times because it is just a good thing to do. No one wants trash on the beaches. They are too beautiful.”Dana McFarland, of Mullica Hill, and her daughters, Eily, 11, (left) and Amelia, 8, fill garbage bags with plastic bottles, wrappers and cans during the beach cleanup.Dana McFarland, of Mullica Hill, N.J., brought her daughters, Amelia, 8, and Eily, 11, to the cleanup.“We found a lot of litter under the Boardwalk,” Dana McFarland said. “We vacation here and want the beaches to be clean. My husband is a surfer. The ocean is our happy place.”For Eily, who was taught by her parents about what plastics and other debris can do to marine life, the importance of ridding the ocean and beaches of harmful litter is vital.“Plastic bags look like jelly fish and an animal could swallow it and die,” Eily said. “That is why we have to pick them up.”Nickolas Figueroa, 10, and his brother, Alexander, 14, display some of their finds, including a block of Styrofoam and a weight cover.last_img