MARGATE — The third annual Margate Lifeguard Association Labor Day beach cleanup capped a season that saw more litter on the sand than in years past.

The cleanup happened Sunday and Monday mornings before the guards started their shifts. Association officers Kristine Auble, 25, of Atlantic City, and her twin sister, Amanda, helped organize the event. Kristine Auble said the pandemic has resulted in both more people and more trash at the beach this season.

“Working all summer long, we noticed there were changes from other summers,” Auble said. “There were a lot more people. We saw a lot more masks and gloves (left on the beach, but) we tried to keep it just as clean as other years.”

The association holds the beach cleanup on the holiday weekend because larger crowds result in more trash, and it’s also a time when lifeguards who are away at college come back to help. Some of the guards brought their children and younger cousins to assist.

“It’s a great experience,” Auble said. “They can see that the environment matters and you shouldn’t leave trash on the beach.”

The guards split into two groups and walked the dune line and water’s edge where the beach cleaner doesn’t pick up.

“With the coronavirus, we tried to keep everyone who worked together, together,” she said. “One group on the northern side and one on the south side.”

Auble said everyone with a bag had it at least half full, although there was more trash near Lucy the Elephant and Ventura’s Greenhouse, as that area has a greater concentration of tourists and fewer locals.

“A lot of the people here on our Beach Patrol, they live here in Margate,” she said. “They very much care about Margate City, where they work and the community. We want everyone there to enjoy themselves and after they’re done to make sure the beach is a clean environment.”

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