A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning: Surfrider South Jersey’s Bay Clean-Up


Living along the coast, beach and bay clean-ups are a part of the norm. Sporadically throughout the year groups like Surfrider mobilize locals to help clean and preserve areas that are at the most risk to pollution. In the past month, the organization's two New Jersey chapters put together a handful of clean-up all along the coast. This past weekend was Surfrider South Jersey’s monthly clean-up along the bay just south of Atlantic City in Ventnor.

The cleaning crew was comprised of locals who were concerned about their community watersheds and the waste that threatens them. One of the volunteers said how he “lives, fishes, and boats there” and how the “mess cannot clean itself.” He then went on to credit Surfrider by saying “they have made it possible to help out the cove. Whoever they are, they’re doing it right.”

Speaking to Surfrider South Jersey’s Beth Kwart, who was the beach captain for the event,  she mentioned the importance of keeping the bays clean. “The area is known for terrapin crossings and a lot of the mama turtles will come out to lay their eggs around here and there’s [also] an active osprey nest here, so this clean up is really good for that wildlife. Any trash that gets in the water right here is going out to the ocean, it’s not that far away. The clean up is good for the wildlife that is immediately here, where this is their habitat but it’s also good for the fish, whales, dolphins, and everything else that gets impacted by trash in the ocean.”

The volunteers were armed with gloves, garbage bags, and trash pickers as they separated waste from plastics and glassware. As they picked their way from the roadside to the edge of the marsh the group collected all the trash they could find whilst taking in all the nature around them. Among the group of adult volunteers was a 9 year old who “likes to clean.”  She and her mother recently moved to Ventnor, so once they saw details for the clean-up on Facebook, they decide to go. The pair went on to say that “they pick up trash where ever they go, especially along the beach.”

Everyday actions like picking up trash along the beach and or bay does so much in protecting and preserving the wildlife native to those areas and the volunteers of Ventnor City’s bay clean-up know it. They had collected dozens of full trash bags along with larger pieces of garbage, such as paint cans and beer boxes, over the course of a few hours which one could claim that the event had been a success.

Coverage by Daniella Heminghaus

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