POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — Autumn at the Jersey shore means the crowds have gone, the water is cooler — and things like a plastic heel from a shoe, a surgical mask and toothbrush heads can be found on the sand.
Clean Ocean Action held its annual fall beach cleanups in 60 spots up and down the Jersey shore, removing thousands of items that were either left behind by beachgoers or that washed up with the tides after being discarded elsewhere.
Underwear; weather-stripping materials; a baseball; diapers; a leg from a baby doll; a fishing pole; pieces of a pier; and bubble wands were among the stranger items collected by volunteers at Point Pleasant Beach.
On Sandy Hook alone, volunteers picked up nearly 3,500 food and candy wrappers; 142 rubber balloons; 3,300 plastic straws and stirrers; more than 100 plastic light sticks; and nearly 600 plastic forks, knives and spoons.
"Human trash is now found on every shoreline in the world and throughout the global ocean," said Cindy Zipf, the group's executive director. "Human trash not only makes beaches ugly, it maims and kills marine life. We must do more to reduce plastic pollution, and beach sweeps are one way citizens can help."