Nonprofit announces Jersey Shore cleanup results

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SANDY HOOK -

A local group helped take thousands of pieces of trash out of New Jersey waters.

Clean Ocean Action announced that it collected 373,686 pieces of debris as part of its beach sweep in 2017.

The group says the study isn't just about picking up trash but also how people treat waterways.

Over 7,400 volunteers were part of the program to keep the Jersey Shore clean last year.

Officials say the most common items they found, which they dubbed the "dirty dozen," included plastic pieces, caps, food wrappers, straws and cigarette filters.

Statistically, plastic made up for 76.2 percent of the trash found, while foam plastic came in at a distant second with 8.2 percent. 

Cleanups like this have led to many beaches banning cigarettes and has others considering disallowing balloon releases.

Noted improvements from the cleanups included less disposed diapers and pieces of lumber.

Some offbeat items were found during the cleanings: blood vials, a tennis racket, fire extinguishers, a tooth in a box and a bird cage.

Clean Ocean Action was founded in 1985 and holds one of the longest-running beach cleanups in the world.

The next beach sweep is scheduled for April 21.

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