NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The sound of trash tumbling out of a mechanized rake drowns out the soothing sound of the waves crashing at Rockaway Beach.
No matter which way our camera rolled, garbage took center frame, CBS2’s Vanessa Mudock reported Monday.
A busted beach chair, discarded pizza boxes, even an entire array of blankets and towels were left behind by beachgoers.
A parks department worker, busy cleaning up someone else’s mess, did not want to speak on camera, but said he’s never seen the beach this bad.
“The people who do live here, I will say, always pick up after themselves,” said Ellen Manley, of Belle Harbor.
Manley blamed the disgusting displays on those who just came down for a day.
“They tend to trash it and they just leave their garbage and go,” said Manley.
Siobhan Mullen, of Skudin Surf, told us they teach campers respect by giving them prizes for helping clean the beach.
“The environmental award at the end of the week, but it’s pretty bad,” said Mullen. “What’s on the beach ends up in the ocean. The birds eat it, the fish eat it.”
Clare Hilger, secretary of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, said she won’t come to the beach at night.
“It’s very depressing, honestly as a resident of this area, to see my beach completely littered,” she said.
Hilger said she believes the Parks Department does the best it can.
A department spokesperson told us attendance at Rockaway Beach is way up this summer, and that crews are stepping up efforts to take down litter as the city continues its reopening.
Staff, for example, clean the beach and boardwalk daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The sand gets raked with heavy equipment every morning, too.
“We can’t just have the attitude that I go to the beach and I just leave everything behind,” said Hilger.
The Parks Department said they also have dedicated crews during peak hours to clean high traffic areas, like comfort stations.