Officials: Source of tar balls found along Monmouth County beaches remains a mystery
The United States Coast Guard says it is working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Monmouth County officials to investigate the 1,000 tar balls and other pieces of oily debris found along a large stretch of beaches last week.
The organization Clean Ocean Action in Long Branch showed News 12 New Jersey some pieces of tar balls they collected while doing some beach cleanup.
"They are nasty sticky, yucky, smelly things," said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action. "There were some that were a size of a tennis ball. There were some the size of golf balls.”
The source of the debris and tar balls remains unclear, according to the Coast Guard.
"These, let's call them belches of oil, that get out into the ocean and then they age and weather and turn into these tar balls. When it happens, offshore can contaminate marine life,” says Zipf.
There are no reports of new pollution found since the weekend, but Zpif says you can't let your guard down.
"This was common in the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s. But we have come a long way since then. We have to keep vigilant. We can't never let our attention down,” Zipf says. “We must remain focused on keeping the ocean free of industrialization because it can come back in a heartbeat."
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. asked the Coast Guard to investigate if there is a possible link between the debris recovered in New York and the incidents in New Jersey.