Keep New Jersey's beaches free of trash
As the summer draws closer, a large slice of the University's student population has its eyes set on the beach. For all of those students, we have a message: Please try to be a little nicer when you hit the shore. According to an report released by Clean Ocean Action, last year's clean up of the New Jersey coastline was one for the record books, with cleaners picking up an all-time high of 475,321 pieces of garbage. Honestly, New Jersey has a bad enough rep as it is, and our state's shore is one of few things that isn't constantly mocked. We can't go ruining that, too. If we do, what will we have left, the oh-so-glorious New Jersey Turnpike? Hardly something that will attract scores of tourists and locals alike.
What's particularly sad about this state of affairs is that it isn't exactly hard to not throw your trash where it does not belong. The mass amount of refuse piling up on N.J. beaches is little more than the result of sheer laziness. There are usually trash cans to be utilized on any given stretch of the shore. Sure, they may be a bit of a walk away form your luxuriously-appointed, umbrella-shaded beach chair, but exercise is always a good thing, right? And if you do find yourself on a beach that is not equipped with trash receptacles, it can't be too much of a problem to just hold onto your garbage until you find a place to properly dispose of it later.
It's true that some of the garbage that shows up on the beaches has washed up from elsewhere. Unfortunately, we can't do anything about that. What people can do, however, is make sure that they are not contributing to the problem. Among the items picked up by the clean up efforts and recorded in Clean Ocean Action's report were a keg, a home-depot apron and a bag of heroin — things that pretty clearly weren't just random bits of refuse accidentally left behind. So, if you're going to the beach this summer — and you probably are — please try not to ruin it for the rest of us.