Garbage, syringes wash up on some NJ beaches

Posted: Updated:

Swimming was banned at some New Jersey beaches Friday after garbage, including syringes, washed up on the shore.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says that wind and strong rain led to what is called a “debris wash-up.” DEP officials say that a wash-up this bad hasn’t happened in New Jersey in about four years.

The garbage included plastic items, bottle caps, bathroom items, syringes for insulin and cigarette packs. Officials say that they are items commonly flushed down the toilet, but shouldn’t be.

Environmental group Clean Ocean Action says that heavy rain from earlier in the week flushed out the combined sewer systems in northern New Jersey and New York City. The overflow and the sewage that comes with it washes out into the ocean.

“When that happens you get this big flush of not only water, but whatever is in the sewers, including human waste…anything anybody flushes down the toilet,” says executive director Cindy Zipf.

The strong winds then pushed that garbage onto the beaches.

“We need to do a better job. We are working on that,” says New Jersey DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe. “New Jersey DEP has been working very hard on that in recent years to get all sewer systems that still have old combined systems, to develop long-term control plans to prevent incidents like this from happening.”

Officials say that they will continue to monitor the beaches to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

They say that if beachgoers find any garbage, especially syringes, not to touch it. They should contact a lifeguard or police officer instead.

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