By Mike Dougherty

By Mike Dougherty

HIGHLANDS, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey’s beaches from Essex to Cape May counties were cleaned by thousands of volunteers who worked together Saturday to get the sand ready for summer.

Clean Ocean Action has been organizing beach sweeps since 1985 and this year more than 4,500 hundred people came out to pick up plastic bottles, cigarette butts and anything else that’s been left behind.

Catie Tobin with Clean Ocean Action says volunteers see immediate results of their hard work.

“Things come full circle,” she says. “What they’re doing on a home level can really impact the marine environment as a whole and specifically the animals within it.”

She says every piece of garbage is logged and counted so they can keep track of what is being left behind.

“Each volunteer becomes a citizen scientist for the day,” Tobin says. “Not only are they picking up the trash, but they’re also recording each piece of debris that they pick up on one of our Clean Ocean Action data cards.”

The goal is to come up with new ideas on how to keep those items off the beach and out of the water.

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