OC Group Discusses Common Pollutants

OCEAN CITY – Officials in Ocean City are looking for ways to curb major pollutants found along the streets and beach.

On Wednesday, those with the Adopt Your Beach and Adopt Your Street programs came before the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, to discuss the amount of cigarette butts and dog waste found along the resort’s streets and beaches.

Gail Blazer, Ocean City’s environmental engineer, noted the resort’s ongoing issue with cigarette butts.

“Going through and tabulating the trash, there are certain things that are popping up,” she said. “Cigarette butts are definitely a huge problem here.”

Councilman Tony DeLuca, chair of the Green Team, agreed.

“The beach I live on I adopted, and I have picked it up four times a year for the past three years,” he said. “Cigarette butts, broken Styrofoam and straws are it.”

DeLuca said he would like to see the Green Team pursue grant money or businesses sponsorships to install cigarette receptacles off the Boardwalk. The group applied for a Cigarette Little Prevention Program grant in March, but was rejected.

“Unfortunately, we did not get the grant,” said Sandi Smith of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. “I am going to reapply for it again next year … But there’s no reason why we can’t pursue potentially having businesses sponsor a box down there.”

The committee agreed to research possible grants and the cost of purchasing receptacles for business sponsorships.

“There’s money available,” DeLuca said.

The committee on Wednesday also agreed to work on outreach regarding the town’s dog ordinance.

Effie Cox, program coordinator of the Adopt Your Beach program, said volunteers with the program often find dog feces on the beach during clean-ups.

“It’s definitely been there group after group after group,” she said. “I don’t know if there is something we can do to educate, or a way to address that issue.”

DeLuca suggested “reeducating” the public on the town’s dog ordinance. He noted that several departments in Ocean City have the authority to write citations for those who don’t pick up after their dogs. Fines, he said, can reach up to $1,000.

“Once people get a ticket, people take it more seriously,” Smith added.

The committee agreed to take an educational approach to the issue by handing out flyers with information on the town’s ordinance and possibly launching an outreach campaign.

“As a team, we need to figure out how to better distribute this information,” Smith said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.