The 2023 Beach Sweep dates are April 1st and October 21st.
About the Beach Sweeps
In 1985, COA launched the region’s first Beach Sweeps program to rid beaches of unsightly and harmful debris. COA’s Beach Sweeps is one of the longest running cleanups of its kind in the world. The program has grown from 75 people at one site in 1985, to over 10,000 volunteers in 2018. Volunteers gather from Raritan to Delaware Bays and along the ocean to clean beaches and waterways, as well as underwater sites. They join as groups (community, school, business, and organization), families, or individuals. Participants collect and record valuable data about debris, which is presented in annual reports and used to advance federal, state, and local programs to reduce litter.
Fish, whales, birds, and other animals often mistake litter for food. As a result, animals get entangled in or ingest items, such as plastic bags, cigarette filters, and fishing line, with deadly results. Cigarette filters mimic fish and have been found in the stomachs of birds and larger fish, blocking and affecting their digestion. Also, the filters are made of plastic fibers and trap carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals that are introduced into animals’ bloodstreams.
Moreover, plastic litter takes a few years to several hundred years to break down, thereby threatening wildlife for decades. Litter in waterways can also foul boat motors and propellers, resulting in costly repairs. Finally, littered beaches can ruin a day at the beach. Garbage slicks and wash-ups close beaches to swimming and are detrimental to tourism and the coastal economy.
Who should participate in Beach Sweeps?
Volunteers of all ages. Children age 12 and under must be supervised by an adult. Registration is required. Register here!
How to get involved in Beach Sweeps:
- To participate in the Beach Sweeps first review the list of Beach Sweeps sites.
- Once you’ve selected a site, click here to register to participate! Registration is required.
- The event runs from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm. Volunteers can select a check-in time of either 9:00 am or 10:00 am. Event is rain or shine.
- Bring gloves and a trash bucket (this helps to reduce the number of plastic bags used).
- Wear sunscreen and hard-soled shoes.
- Dress for the weather. Stay off dunes and respect wildlife.
- Volunteers can click here to learn more about becoming a Beach Captain.