WILDWOOD CREST, N.J. (AP) – The cleanup of an island in a lake in southern New Jersey has yielded 25,000 pounds of trash in just over two days.
From Tuesday to Thursday, work crews scooped debris from Sunset Lake Island in Wildwood Crest.
It stemmed from a community-based effort to clean up the shoreline in Cape May County.
“This whole island was absolutely the worst,” said Steven Spagnuola of North Star Marine, a heavy equipment company involved in the cleanup. “When we actually came onto the island, it was worse than we expected. We’ll be here for another four or five days, if not more.”
The island used to host a sewage treatment plant.
Some unusual debris found there included an abandoned barge, a floating dock and two life rafts from the 1950s. Other items included old tires, timber, broken glass and plastic.
Gretchen Whitman, director of the New Jersey Audubon Nature Center of Cape May told The Press of Atlantic City the amount of trash on the island was staggering.
“I’m a little humbled in a way,” she said. “I think it’s depressing.”
The overall area where the cleanups are being conducted in Cape May County is essential habitat for winter flounder, windowpane flounder, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, summer flounder, black sea bass, bluefish, butterfish and scup.
The nature center is using federal and local funds to pay for the work.
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