Written for The Argo by Emily Hamilton
Love Blue Stockton volunteers have been working to clean up the Atlantic City beaches weekly over the course of the fall semester.
Nick Olson, Love Blue Stockton Chapter President and NJ Cleanup Manager, has organized these cleanups through their Instagram page.
Through the Instagram page, Olson has been able to recruit volunteers, reach out to other organizations, share their progress, and connect with other Love Blue chapters.
The work being done follows their mission statement, “We practice ocean conservation through community-based projects and beach cleanups. Our goal is to share the Blue Movement worldwide in order to eliminate our oceans waste and plastic pollution crisis.”
During the fall semester, starting from September 6 to October 30, Love Blue volunteers came together weekly to pick up trash left on Atlantic City beaches.
Over the nine weeks, volunteers managed to collect 704 pounds of garbage from the beaches.
“The biggest challenge has been timing and scheduling of our cleanups, trying not to interfere with other events on campus, and maximizing the number of volunteers we produce per cleanup,” Olson said.
These cleanups have been carefully thought out, planned, and advertised to students over the course of the semester to not further interfere with other student activities.
Even with so much work being done and trash collected by the Love Blue volunteers, there is still a lot of work to be done at Atlantic City beaches. Even during local months when many tourists aren’t as prominent in the area, the beaches are still being littered heavily.
“Love Blue has not reached out directly to Atlantic City Public Works or the municipality yet, but we are attending a sustainability convention in Atlantic City this month of November. We hope to network and let people know how bad the trash problem is in Atlantic City,” said Olson.
“However, there have been members from the Atlantic City Facebook group who have seen our active work in the community and made direct complaints to the city regarding a dumpster left on the beach by Atlantic City Public Works,” Olson continued.
Going forward into the winter months, Love Blue now moves to monthly cleanups as the weather makes it more difficult to organize beach cleanups.
“I plan on working with our CEO of the Non-profit Love Blue Inc., AJ Caruso, to organize a cleanup over these months at Monmouth University to hopefully spark interest for a club to start up at their university,” Olson said.
For more information and updates on cleanups students and staff are encouraged to follow the Love Blue Instagram page @lovebluestockton.