94th St Beach Littered With Polystyrene


On Tuesday, December 20th, 2016, our #CleanBeachOC Team set ourselves the task of cleaning up the oceanside of 94th St and the 94th St beach.  What we found was the 94th St Beach Littered With Polystyrene.

Re-Construction is taking place at the Flying Cloud Condo building, they are in the process of taking down the stucco on the oceanside of the building.  Underneath the orange-yellow stucco is an inch plus of sheets of polystyrene.

Here is what we found…

94th St Beach Littered With Polystyrene

Polystyrene is NOT a regulated substance except in the food service industry by the FDA, and even then only on how it can be used in the food packaging, how many parts per million are “acceptable” if it gets in the food.

Now, this product, polystyrene, is believed to be carcinogenic, but as long as it does not come apart when our food touches it, and not too much is leached into the food while it ‘touches’ it, then it’s “ok”…

So, all this carcinogenic polystyrene, that has a roughly 500 year life span, is NOT regulated once it goes beyond it’s one time use. As it is not regulated, but prolific, in many other industries.

Just do a Google search for “Polystyrene” and the number of products is unfathomable.

Learn some basics about Polystyrene on Wikipedia… Click Here!

Now, take your research to the next level and read this from the Earth Resource Foundation… Click Here!

Some highlights of the Earth Resource Foundation paper are:

  • A 1986 EPA report on solid waste named the polystyrene manufacturing process as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste.
  • Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food that they contain (especially when heated in a microwave). These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.
  • Polystyrene foam is often dumped into the environment as litter. This material is notorious for breaking up into pieces that choke animals and clog their digestive systems.

94th St Beach Littered With Polystyrene

More and more cities and towns are beginning to ban polystyrene…

As of 2006, about one hundred localities in the United States including Portland, Oregon and San Francisco currently have some sort of ban on polystyrene foam in restaurants. In 2007 Oakland, California required restaurants to switch to disposable food containers that will biodegrade if added to food compost. In 2013, San Jose became reportedly the largest city in the country to ban polystyrene foam food containers. Some communities have implemented wide polystyrene bans, such as Freeport, Maine, which did so in 1990. Source: Polystyrene – Wikipedia

Polystyrene and Ocean City MD

The Green Team picked up the debate this week after doing some tentative research, and what they have appeared to discover is Ocean City really doesn’t have a Styrofoam problem. DeLuca said he consulted with Public Works Director Hal Adkins and learned Styrofoam is currently not creating any major issues for the solid waste division. Found in: ‘Little Traction For Now On Styrofoam Ban In Ocean City’ written by Shawn Soper in The Dispatch

Polystyrene pollution on the 94th St sand dune | 94th St Beach Littered With PolystyreneWhat the question here is, why would ‘styrofoam’ (which is a trademark name by Dow Chemical, and should be referred to as polystyrene) be a problem for Public Works?  It’s so easily compactable that it is not a problem for most Public Works Departments. Side Note: That easily compactable is what breaks polystyrene into the pellets that make this product even more deadly and easier to digest by the seafood and waterfowl.

Where we should be looking at is what is happening with all the polystyrene that is blowing into the ocean and bay around OC.  It is so light the slightest bit of wind takes it away, it only stops when it gets caught in our dunes, in trees and bushes, or lands in the waters around OC.  But, then when it hits the water it washes away and it’s not our problem right?

Well, that’s a false statement, as this is a fairly major commercial and recreational fishing area all those polystyrene pellets our getting into our food supply.  Has a day been invested by anyone to watch our fisherman as they clean a days catch of the seafood that will make it to the tables around Ocean City?

One could make the point that these fish are eating polystyrene from other areas, but is that the point, I do not believe so, I believe we are contributing to the overall problem, and that we should do our part!

Alas, though we may not think the polystyrene from our food containers is a problem, and maybe it’s not a ‘big’ problem, but as you can see from this video, polystyrene is a product  that is a problem!

You can help, STOP buying products in polystyrene, and as so many products are received packaged in polystyrene, please wrap it up so the broken down particles to not escape into our environment!  Every little bit helps cause every little bit of polystyrene hurts!

One more thing you can do, help support our Cleanest Beach In America project, we will continue to clean our beaches & bays weekly, and we will continue to share what we see and learn every day…

Your support helps us do just that…

Mailing Address:

Robert J Banach
Founder / Director
Cleanest Beach In America
408 Philadelphia Ave., Unit 901
Ocean City, MD 21843

Thank you, in advance, for your support!

94th St Beach Littered With Polystyrene by Robert J Banach, December 22, 2016


About Robert J Banach

Living between the beach and the bay in Ocean City MD, a photographer of all aspects of the world around me, I had to do something about some of the things I was seeing when I was out taking my pictures. We have, heard it over and over again, pollution is killing our planet, millions of tons are floating in our seas and washing up on our shores, killing our wildlife, getting into our food systems. Join me, let's start with our beaches, let's make the American beaches the cleanest in the world!