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Rockaway surfer fighting a wave of pollution on Queens beaches

A cleanup of Rockaway Beach will kick off at 3 p.m. this Saturday. 
A cleanup of Rockaway Beach will kick off at 3 p.m. this Saturday.  Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dimitrios Kambouris

The hypodermic needles scattered in the sand and plastic bags floating along the shore are threatening to turn the tide on Rockaway beaches, according to Joe Falcone, a surfboard shaper and native of the peninsula. 

"There’s more trash I see on the beach every day that I even know what to do with," said Falcone. "It’s important to figure out how we can give back to the planet by just cleaning up after ourselves."

To highlight the importance of maintaining the beaches, Falcone teamed up with Pabst Blue Ribbon Easy as part of their community days initiative to organize a Rockaway Beach cleanup this Saturday. The effort will kick off at Locals Surf Shop at 3 p.m. and conclude at 8 p.m. with a party at RBQ, complete with refreshments. 

Event organizers said a free shuttle will pick up people from Union Pool in Williamsburg at 2 p.m. and return to Brooklyn that night. 

Rockaway native Joe Falcone says he is sick of seeing trash on local beaches. 
Rockaway native Joe Falcone says he is sick of seeing trash on local beaches.  Photo Credit: Pabst Blue Ribbon

“The Rockaways are a special place and getting to know Joe and the Locals’ crew has been truly inspiring,” said Pabst Blue Ribbon senior brand manager Ali Davala. "We hope that we’re reminding people that everyone can make a positive contribution to their community.”

Falcone, who has been surfing in New York’s coastal waters since he was 7 years old, said having the trash around distracts from the beauty of his hometown and disrupts the hobby that shaped his career and lifestyle — surfing.

“When you go back and forth from catching a wave and are entranced by the moment and then you paddle back out and wait for the next one, you’re in this state of hyper awareness. And then plastic bags are the first thing you see,” Falcone said. “I’ve had them caught on my face … It’s pretty sad.”

RSVP at buildingouramericarockaways.splashthat.com/.

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