Belmar's Beach Sweeps Brings Out Contingent of Committed Volunteers

Courtney Winston of Lake Como emerges from underneath the Belmar Boardwalk with his Beach Sweeps “finds.” Credits: Cathy Goetz
From left, Brian Youngblood of Howell, and Dan and Brenda Skinner, both of Oakhurst, participate in Clean Ocean Action’s 32nd Beach Sweeps in Belmar. Credits: Cathy Goetz
With their trash bags full, Montana Blitz, from left, Vincent Caputo and Julia Caputo, all of Millstone, are ready to total up their Beach Sweeps data card, tallying items collected. Credits: Cathy Goetz
Noelle Bergeron, left, of Spotswood and Luz Leiton of Perth Amboy have a little fun with some plastic shovels they scooped up during their litter walk along Belmar’s beachfront. Credits: Cathy Goetz
At Belmar's Third Avenue beach, 1 1/2-year-old Leo Herrala gives his mom, Emily Hackett Herrala, a break as Clean Ocean Action's beach captain at that boardwalk check-in point. Credits: Emily Hackett Herrala

BELMAR, NJ — Under drizzly and dreary skies, a smaller-than-usual contingent of determined volunteers spent their morning yesterday doing something for Mother Nature.

Donning gloves, hats and raingear, they converged on Ocean Avenue in Belmar to participate in Clean Ocean Action’s 32nd annual Beach Sweeps. With trash bags and checklists in hand, they scoured the beach — and some even crawled under the boardwalk — to pick up debris and make a record of the items they collected.

While the inclement weather placed a damper on volunteer participation, those who did turn out offered a variety of reasons for their effort. Some were students fulfilling course requirements, others were members of local organizations or employees of companies with community service initiatives. And there were those individuals who simply wanted to do their part to clean up the beach.

Sign Up for E-News

Regardless of why they came, many participants expressed their concern with people who litter the beach. “It just amazes me that people would just leave their garbage on the beach, when it’s one of our most beautiful assets,” said Brenda Skinner of the Oakhurst section of Ocean. “Who does that?”

Courtney Winston of Lake Como didn’t spend much of his time actually on the beach; he could be found under the boardwalk, scooping debris from areas hidden from view. “This is where you find trash you can’t see unless you’re under here,” he said, emerging with a pile of plastic cups, bottles, food wrappers and other miscellaneous items.  

And that’s the impetus behind Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps – to not only to reduce and eliminate sources of litter, but to calculate data about the debris collected, providing “a lifetime of data to make an difference for the ocean,” according to Highlands-based nonprofit. This information then is used to identify sources of pollution, monitor trends, and discover and promote solutions.

Belmar was among 23 municipalities in Monmouth County — and some 50 statewide, predominately along New Jersey’s 130-mile coastline — participating in the biannual event.

Plastics continue to be on the top of the debris heap, representing more than 81 percent of some 219,000 items collected statewide in 2016. While plastic is the material found in eight of the COA’s “Dirty Dozen,” cigarette filters, lumber pieces, paper pieces and cigar tips round out the list.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Belmar and Lake Como

March 19, 2018

Belmar Police Department reported the following arrests occurred in Belmar and Lake Como from February 1, 2018 to February 27, 2018.


Sonya Alfano, 23, of Wall was charged with contempt on an outstanding warrant after her arrest on February 1 on Route 35 by Police Officer Peter Speakman.

Robert Ramos, 31, of Philadelphia was arrested at Belmar Plaza on February 6 by Police Officer ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 1:00 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

The Book Art Show at Belmar Arts Center


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


Belmar Zoning Board of Adjustment


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Bar Anticipation, Lake Como

Kilt Run to Benefit the Belmar/Lake Como St.


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Ale House Sports Bar and Grille, Brielle

Ales for Whales II to Benefit the Marine Mammal ...


Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Second, Third and Fourth Avenue Beaches

Belmar Easter Egg Hunt


Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Jake's Downtown, Belmar

Jake's Downtown Slider Saturdays


Sat, March 24, 1:00 PM

The Stone Pony, Asbury Park

Paint the Pony Purple to Benefit the Epilepsy ...

Fla. Governor Calls for Armed Officer at All Entry Points at Marjory Stoneman Douglas

March 21, 2018

PARKLAND, FL — Gov. Rick Scott requested armed law enforcement personnel be posted to secure "every point of entry" at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in a letter to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and Superintendent Robert Runcie. 

"Following the loss of seventeen innocent lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, our state has been focused on making ...

JCP&L Preparing for Third Nor’easter that Could Impact Region

March 20, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ — Jersey Central Power & Light is preparing for the third nor’easter to hit the region in the past two weeks that could produce more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and the potential for wind gusts up to 45 mph in its service areas, beginning early Wednesday, March 21.

JCP&L personnel have implemented storm and staffing plans and are prepared to respond ...