Toms River received the third-highest Clean Communities program grant, issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Toms River will receive $209,273, the third-highest single grant behind Jersey City and Newark, in the $17 million program. In Toms River, officials said the money will be used to pay the salaries of three Clean Communities employees (two full-time and one part-time) as well as equipment, educational programs and litter removal projects throughout the year. The funding will go toward coordinating group cleanups of public lands within the township.
The department will also use a portion of the grant to expand on its educational outreach and safety training programs. The Public Works Department conducts tours at the township facility and provides educational programs with a focus on recycling. “Rocky” the Recycling Robot performs educational skits at Toms River Elementary schools.
“We are also excited to announce that this year the Toms River Clean Communities program will launch a brand-new water debris collection program employing the use of a vessel purchased with funds from last year’s grant,” said Mayor Thomas Kelaher, in a statement.
“We have had a great relationship with the NJDEP over the years,” said Public Works Director Lou Amoruso. “Toms River Educational Specialist John Clark has developed a Clean Communities Excellence in education award-winning program on non-point source pollution, which has been viewed by nearly 1,500 first and second grade children this year.”
The Clean Communities program also funds cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into waterways; volunteer cleanups of public properties; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment, litter receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and supplies to remove graffiti.
The township promotes “Adopt-a-Highway” and “Adopt-a-Spot” programs, which encourage volunteers to register with the Department of Public Works to adopt a specific area to keep litter free, clean and beautiful. Volunteers cleaned up over 30 cubic yards of debris from the Township’s public lands, roadsides and beaches. Additionally, nearly 200 Adopt-a-Highway participants have received safety training in a joint effort involving Toms River Township and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council.