BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — Belmar and Lake Como has picked up a collective total of $21,236 this year in state Clean Communities funding to assist in their litter clean-up efforts.

Awarded through the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Belmar will receive $16,621 and Lake Como, $4,615 — a decline of $1,820 and $503, respectively, in Clean Communities funding from 2019.

This year, DEP is giving out a total of $19.4 million in Clean Communities grants to municipalities and counties throughout the state — $2.1 million less from the previous year. Among all 21 counties, Monmouth will receive the seventh highest grant at $121,119, which falls short by $13,170 of its previous-year award.

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“Clean Communities grants help municipalities and counties with the important task of removing unsightly litter, often from roadways and around stormwater collection systems, to enhance quality of life,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said in a press release. “Beautifying our communities through these types of cleanups help improve water quality and natural resources while also protecting wildlife and their habitats.”

The nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council oversees reporting requirements for the program. Grants are funded by a legislated user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products. Disbursements to municipalities are based on the number of housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways within each municipality.

“Municipalities and counties are strongly encouraged to use these grants to pay for volunteer and paid cleanups, badly needed equipment purchases, enforcement activities and education,” said Sandy Huber, executive director of New Jersey Clean Communities Council. “We are grateful for funding that helps keep New Jersey clean. We are proud to serve as an educational resource for communities, as we drive many of our campaigns to engage the younger generations to help mold positive, long-term behaviors toward discarding litter.”

In addition to ongoing efforts by each town’s public works department, community cleanups conducted by volunteers are held along Belmar’s beachfront and Lake Como’s lakefront several times each year. This spring’s events, however, were canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Activities funded by Clean Communities grants include:

  • Cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into streams, rivers and bays.
  • Volunteer cleanups of public properties, including beach cleanups.
  • Adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances.
  • Public information and education programs.
  • Purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.

For a complete list of municipal and county grant awards, visit www.njclean.org

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