PATERSON, NJ - It was a banner year in the number of clean-ups for the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC), which reports 760 projects across the state that removed 1,930 tons of debris from waterways, beaches, greenways and roads.
NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber said the council had established an aggressive goal at the beginning of 2014 to coordinate 350 clean-ups, to celebrate the 350th birthday of the State of New Jersey. Through outreach to county coordinators and local volunteer groups, the number of coordinated clean-ups surpassed expectations, with various organizations across the state helping the NJCCC tally up 760 cleanups.
“To say we are thrilled with 2014 may be an understatement,” said Huber, noting various groups were able to rally the services of 18,181 volunteers who collected 11,310 large bags of litter and 34 tons of recyclables across 131 miles in 2014. In addition, volunteers were able to collect 8,300 tires that had been illegally disposed on public property.
“One of the major reasons we have been successful has been our education program,” said Huber, noting the NJCCC coordinates a number of campaigns throughout the year across New Jersey designed to teach young people about the affects of littering. “We see education as our number one weapon in the fight against litter, and that is why we are so focused on hosting seminars throughout the year.”
For example, NJCCC will be hosting its annual Environmental Student Exchange on March 19-20; this year at Waterloo Village in Stanhope. The annual conference, with awards for kids, takes place in Long Branch on May 20-22. Both events draw hundreds of people, with the focus on students.
Huber noted the most major clean-ups in 2014 were the Barnegat Bay Blitz on April 25, the Raritan River Cleanup in Somerset County on May 12, the Great Falls Cleanup in Paterson on September 20 and the Beach & Bay Cleanups in Brigantine on September 20.
The NJCCC thanked the following partners who contributed to a cleaner New Jersey during 2014: Adopt-a-Beach Volunteers, New Jersey Clean Communities Coordinators, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners River Restoration Program and the state Department of Environmental Protection, which ran the Barnegat Bay Blitz, Clean Shores, Open Space and AmeriCorps/NJ Watershed Ambassadors programs.
You can learn more about the NJCCC – or to receive a full list of 2014 clean-ups – at njclean.org.
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