LBI Beach Workouts Have a Newfound Mission

Jul 11, 2018
Courtesy of: Sarah Anderson For every piece of garbage found while on her beach walk/run the author seems to discover a shell or other ocean treasure.

To the Editor:

It was finally here! The first day of our summer-long vacation on LBI had begun. I dropped my son off at his first day of Lifeguard in Training with the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol at Bayview Park and walked across the street to start my new summer exercise routine of walking and jogging on the beach. 

I had recently received my slip in the mail for a free reusable shopping bag to use on LBI since the ban of the plastic shopping bags had begun. I picked up my bag before heading to the beach. Little did I know how handy it would become.

No sooner had I started my beach journey when I spotted my first piece of garbage, which I picked up and placed in my new shopping bag. As I proceeded to complete my hour-long walk, I was astonished by the amount of trash I picked up and put in my bag. Some if it was so close to the ocean’s edge that it was very wet and sandy and practically in the surf. The strange thing was, for every piece of trash I picked up, the ocean seemed to reward me with an unexpected but immediate treasure. I came across perfect sand dollars, angel wing shells, skate eggs, unusual colored shells and even some sea glass.

At first, I didn’t want to put the nasty trash I was finding into my new bag, so I walked up to a lifeguard stand and asked if they had a garbage bag to put some of the trash that I had picked up along the way. They informed me I would have to use the trash cans placed by the entrances to the beach. Although I love our new wide sandy beaches, trekking back and forth to the garbage cans just wasn’t an option.

I kept walking along the water’s edge and ended up using the Doritos and Ziploc bags that I had found to stash the mostly wet and shiny plastic I was finding on the beach before putting it into my new shopping bag that was also holding my beach treasures.

The nice reusable shopping bag I had been given to reduce the number of plastic bags in our beautiful environment was now being used to corral all the mostly plastic trash I was finding on my beach walk. 

The next day I again brought my own bag on my walk and ended up having to empty it in the trash cans three times because of how full and heavy it became. It was bordering on ridiculous just how many popped balloons were in the surf. I had recently read about a dead whale found beached in Thailand. Seventeen pounds of plastic including 80 shopping bags and other plastic debris clogged the whale’s stomach so much that it had been unable to eat. 

Perhaps the township could supply each lifeguard stand with a reusable bag so there is a place to put the trash for people who collect garbage during their stroll on the beach and have nowhere to put it.

Another person I passed on my journey was putting her found trash in her sweatshirt pockets. As for me, I will always bring along a bag during my exercise along the water’s edge for both the trash and the treasures that I am sure to continue to find this summer.

Sarah Anderson

North Beach Haven

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