BELMAR, NJ — Delia Noone, a junior at Communications High School in Wall, wanted to make sure two themes — pollution and nature — were depicted in her entry to the Belmar Environmental Commission’s “I’m the solution to plastic pollution” logo contest.

“I saw that a plastic bag had an oval shape and so does the body of a turtle. So I blended the two together,” said the 17-year-old Middletown resident, who created the competition’s winning design, which now will be used on reusable canvas bags that are custom-designed for Belmar.

Contest first runner-up Bella DiGioia of Howell utilized the same strategy in designing her logo. “I wanted to use hands and something else, so I chose the ocean, and then combined the two —  the hands holding the ocean with the plastic bags in it,” said DiGioia, a 14-year Howell Middle School student, whose logo would be use on a second printing of the bags.

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Both entries were selected from among 103 submissions by students in grades four through 12 from Monmouth County, and as far away as Piscataway and Perth Amboy. They were honored at a reception held on June 1 at Taylor Pavilion, where all entries were displayed.

 “I was surprised and impressed not only by the number of entries, but the quality of the work,” said Borough Councilman Tom Brennan, its liaison to the Environmental Commission. “Some students even submitted multiple entries. Selecting a winner was a difficult decision.”

He was a contest judge, along with Environmental Commission member Louise Rempe and Borough Administrator Colleen Connolly.

The contest is part of the commission’s new public education campaign to promote the use of reusable canvas bags, starting with participating Belmar shop owners who will give them to customers in place of plastic shopping bags — one of the most common pieces of trash found during Belmar’s beach cleanups.

In order to qualify, an entry had to be two colors, plus black, include the “I’m the solution to plastic pollution” slogan and be graphically appealing on a canvas bag. The bags are expected to be ready for distributed by the Fourth of July.

During the awards reception, Brennan gave a brief presentation on the detrimental effects of plastic bags on the environment, particularly in a community like Belmar where the Atlantic Ocean is to the east, the Shark River to the west, Lake Como to the south, and Silver Lake and Shark River inlet to the north. And when the population grows to some 50,000 on any given summer weekend, the potential for plastic bags winding up in those waters grows dramatically.

“We want to encourage our residents and businesses not to use single-use plastic bags,” Brennan  said, noting statistics that show a plastic bag’s average use is 12 total minutes before it’s discarded.  “With these new reusable bags, we want everyone to be part of the solution.”

Editor's note: Congratulations to the following Belmar Elementary School and St. Rose Grammar School students who participated in the contest and received "Certificates of Awesome" for their efforts:

Belmar Elementary School

Fourth Grade

  • Claire Doherty
  • Kimberly Gonzalez
  • Emelyn Guerrero

Fifth Grade

  • Liz Deleon
  • Adrian Garcia
  • Helen Greco
  • Niki Li
  • Evelyn Lopez
  • Ava Pilatos
  • Michele Ruiz

Seventh Grade

  • Jacqueline Litowinsky
  • Logan Orlowski
  • Madeline Orlowski
  • Maeve Reilly
  • Nicole Tonny

St. Rose Grammar School

Fourth Grade

  • Maeve Brooks
  • Jack Dolan
  • James Doyle
  • Connor Gorman
  • Emily Killeen
  • Finley Lafman
  • Ryder Lorusso
  • Jack Sullivan

Fifth Grade

  • Josephine Cunha
  • Dante Dentino
  • Joshua Huisman
  • Tommy Golding
  • Samantha Lewis
  • Reese Losecar
  • Logan McManas
  • Gavin Monahan
  • Ryan Salicco
  • Brennan Sherman
  • Cody Springer

Sixth Grade

  • Hannah Cummins
  • Anthony DeFilippo
  • Nico DeMaio
  • Joseph Doyle
  • Patrick Federici
  • Brian Fromhold
  • Mary Jodry
  • Julia Kelly
  • Brigid Lozano
  • Lus Pavlinec
  • Thomas Richards
  • Meg Silva
  • Ryan Wegryn

Seventh Grade

  • Cardine Cashmer
  • Michael Conneely
  • Erin Donnolly
  • Riley Gannon
  • Luke Hamill
  • Timothy Kelly
  • Janet L’Heureux
  • Thomasina Nash
  • Alexis Pavlinec
  • Erik Qualy
  • Noelle Ryan Schwalje
  • Lara Shannon
  • Chris Tallarico
  • Greg Wirin

No Grade Listed

  • Chandni O’Keefe
  • James Grande
  • Shaun Nuerado
  • Brian Costello
  • Gabby Winkelman

There were no last names provided for six St. Rose entrants: fourth-graders Dillon and Nicholas, and fifth-graders Christina, Connor, Jane and Luke.


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