Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps is Back for 2021, Saturday, April 17th!

April 2021

After a break in 2020 due to Covid-19 and social distancing guidelines, COA’s Beach Sweeps returns to coordinate another day of volunteering to keep our treasured shoreline free from litter, wash-up and other debris. This year’s sweep will be held on Saturday, April 17th, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in over 60 locations across New Jersey. This year, in honor of Earth Day, take part in this incredible effort to clean up a place we are all so lucky to enjoy.


Clean Ocean Action’s Spring Beach Sweeps will be held on Saturday, April 17th, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Register for Beach Sweeps

View COVID-19 Protocols and Beach Sweeps FAQs


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. Click here to register through the online form.

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