Ocean City Today

Beach cleanup initiative expands following storm

By Greg Ellison | Feb 04, 2016
Courtesy of: Facebook The Facebook group OC Cool has launched a weekly campaign to remove trash and return the Ocean City sands to more pristine conditions. This Tuesday was the first for #TrashOffMyBeach which organizers hope becomes a trend in other seaside resort towns.

(Feb. 5, 2016) Robert Banach, who enjoys nothing more than an idyllic stroll along the beach, is leading the charge to keep Ocean City’s sands free of litter.

“That’s my front yard out there,” he said.

Following the Jan. 23 nor’easter, which scattered debris and redefined dunes along the Ocean City coastline, Banach, who operates the OC Cool Facebook page and group, conducted a weeklong volunteer effort to comb the beach and fill trash bags with litter.

“People care about this stuff,” he said. “They care about their beach and want to know about it.”

Recognizing the battle to maintain beach cleanliness is ongoing, and noticing support swelling for the trash removal campaign, Banach is now starting a weekly cleanup effort.

“Today’s the first one,” he said speaking by phone earlier this week. “Every Tuesday at noon, until summer, then we’ll move it to sunrise.”

After living in Ocean City during the 1970s, the birth of his first grandchild two years ago lured him back to the resort town. Since his return to town, Banach has made a daily ritual of walking along the beach and bagging up whatever trash he notices. Following the storm in January, the OC Cool Facebook group has been inundated with new members swelling the ranks, and providing some assistance to Banach’s good-guy efforts.

“This week I know I’ve added 400 people to the group,” he said. “I’ve only being doing this (group) since (last) May.”

Despite being mired in the midst of the offseason with tourism virtually nonexistent, beach cleanup volunteers have come from everywhere.

“We had a family come down from Hershey,” he said. “People are coming from hours away just to be a part of this.”

He also noted a number of people visiting the resort to secure summer rentals have gotten involved though social media posts.

“ If it’s put out the right way, people pay attention,” he said.

While Ocean City is Banach’s primary focus, he is working to broadly promote #TrashOffMyBeach, and plans on having T-shirts produced with the hash tag.

“I would love to see this go worldwide, not just local,” he said.

While Banach hopes to raise consciousness about beach pollution, he comprehends why some tourists appear less than concerned.

“They’re here for a week and they’re gone, so they think someone else is going to do it,” he said.

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