Thousands of volunteers will hit the New Jersey coastline at more than 60 different locations today for the 28th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps.

Clean Ocean Action Facebook
Clean Ocean Action Facebook

This year's event will be combined with the fifth Wave of Action, a program that is responding to the impacts of Sandy and helping to improve and protect the marine environment through monthly volunteer actions.

"Clean Ocean Action is excited to integrate the 28th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps as part of the Waves of Action initiative to recover and restore the coastline after the devastation of Sandy," said Tavia Danch, Clean Ocean Action Program Manager. "Sandy hit the Jersey Shore hard and littered our beaches with a huge amount of debris."

The Beach Sweeps is about much more than picking up trash. It's about collecting data to help reduce sources of pollution.

Volunteers will be recording the quantity and type of debris found. The information collected is analyzed and published into annual reports, which help to identify pollution problems, aid lawmakers in enacting laws to protect the marine environment and inform local and international efforts to combat marine pollution.

"There is no doubt that Sandy redefined the entire landscape of the shore and dumped an incredible amount of debris into the waterways," said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action. "Since day one, there have been efforts to clean the areas of debris, but the difference here is that rather than just helping to clean up, we will be asking volunteers to record the data. We're not quite sure what we'll find as a result of Sandy, but we may be able to see some of the impacts of the storm through the data that we do find."

Volunteers should bring gloves, dress for the weather, apply sunscreen and wear closed-toed, hard-soled shoes.

Volunteers are asked to pre-register by using the online sign-up form online, where a complete list of cleanup locations and times are also listed.

All Beach Sweeps reports are available online. Tomorrow's event will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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