NJ - Pioneering the possibilities: Alliance for a Living Ocean – Leading A Marine Movement

Focused on managing New Jersey’s entire watershed, bay and ocean holistically from “raindrop to ocean,” Long Beach Island-based Alliance for a Living Ocean (ALO) has been promoting and maintaining clean water and a healthy coastal environment through education, research and active participation since 1987.

“New Jersey has so many beautiful natural areas to offer, and none is more important than our oceans and marine environments,” said ALO Executive Director Kyle Gronostajski of his nonprofit organization’s focus on combating the plastic pollution jeopardizing the health and safety of beaches and coastal areas. “While our beaches are certainly beautiful, closer inspection shows just how much marine debris — from plastic bottles and caps to fishing-related debris, microplastics and more — accumulates regularly.”

ALO is addressing the issue in two ways: First, by helping to stop the flow of single-use plastics into the system. “Along with many other hardworking groups, ALO is lobbying to have various laws passed at the local and state level such as Bill S2776, which would limit the single-use plastic bags, straws and expanded polystyrene that flow into the environment,” said Gronostajski of a bill that could potentially represent the strictest plastics legislation in the nation. “The second step is to continue to clean up the trash that’s unfortunately found its way into the environment. We do this through many organized cleanups of beach and bay areas surrounding Long Beach Island, including our ‘DIY Clean Up’ program, which encourages individuals to clean up whenever they can rather than waiting for organized cleanup events.

“Each year, Earth Day serves as a reminder that we can do better,” Gronostajski said. “Our oceans have never needed our help more and we have to do what we can, not just on Earth Day but every day. If everyone pitches in, we have the opportunity to make simple changes to our daily lives that can have indelible impacts.”

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