Thursday, October 18, 2012

Barnegat Blitz: As many pick up, Sierra Club puts down

** Updated to add news story on Oct 22, 2012**

With thousands of volunteers expected to join today
in a third massive cleanup of the Barnegat Bay watershed sites, a notable state environmental organization is on the sidelines, trash-talking
instead of trash-collecting.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin will be making a number of stops along the cleanup trail to thank participants and seek media attention for the Barnegat Bay Blitz, the third such cleanup led by the NJDEP and NJ Clean Communities Council.

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Stuffing bags with trash and litter collected from area streams, wetlands, catch  basins, storm drains and Barnegat Bay itself will be volunteers from local schools, businesses and a variety of organizations including MATES Academy at the Ocean County Vocational School, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Waste Management, the Barnegat Bay Partnership, ReClam the Bay, United Water, ShopRite, Wawa, Rowbear Consulting Co., and the American Council of Engineering Companies.

The New Jersey Sierra Club's contribution to the cleanup effort?  A press release dismissing the event as a "publicity stunt."  

“As the science mounts about the problems with the Bay, the Christie administration is out doing another publicity stunt instead of developing a real clean up plan for the Bay," chided NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel.

"Commissioner Martin, politicians, and DEP staffers are out picking up trash when they are actually enacting policies that hurt the Bay and make it dirtier,” he said. 

In July the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences released a report on the deteriorating health of Barnegat Bay. The report documents that pollution is worse in the Bay than previously thought as a result of nitrate and phosphorus pollution and eutrophication.

The Christie Administration says its 10 Point Plan is the way to stem the Bay's deterioration. The Sierra Club and some other environmental organizations want the state to limit new development in the region and impose strict Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) discharge standards. 

According to the DEP, the inaugural version of the Barnegat Blitz in October 2011 and the follow-up event in May of this year resulted in 6800 volunteers collecting more than 3,200 bags of trash and recyclables and filling 40 dumpsters.

We wonder if Mother Nature cares who picked up the trash or what motives propelled them? Tell us what you think in the comment box below. If one is not visible, activate it by clicking on the tiny 'comments' line  

Thousands of Volunteers Sweep NJ Beaches
Barnegat Bay Blitz Set for Thursday

Barnegat Bay Blitz No. 3 slated for October 18  

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