Today’s news:

Religious detritus fouling Rockaway coast: Weiner

Religious festivities at the southern foot of the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge have left the fishing area there littered with all sorts of trash as the National Parks Service and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) try to figure out a way to stop the garbage problem.

The congressman visited the beach and fishing area Friday and was disgusted to find the cluttered site that park rangers said has been rampant over the last couple of months. Week after week, residents have found traces of flowers, coconuts, palm branches and other materials left behind from what park rangers believe are ceremonies held by Hindu worshipers.

“It’s been going on this way for years,” said Edgardo Castillo, who cleans the area twice a week for the National Parks Service, which oversees the area.

Weiner said he did not know how bad the situation was until he arrived at the beach and said he would be talking to the Parks Service to see what can be done.

He stressed that the beach must be kept clean since it feeds into Jamaica Bay, which is losing its marshland at a rapid rate due to pollution.

“We need regular enforcement. I don’t mind someone using the waterway for a religious ritual, but when they leave, they have to clean up,” the congressman said.

Edgardo said one of his colleagues, who is Hindu, has been trying to communicate these concerns to the worshipers, but some still forget to pick up after themselves. Weiner suggested that the National Parks Service come up with a campaign to educate all beach visitors on what is and is not permitted at the beach.

Jonathan L. Gaska, the district manager of Community Board 14, which oversees the beach, agreed. Gaska said he was surprised about the garbage and said the best way to solve the problem was to have more prominent warning signs at the beach and a more prominent presence of National Parks police.

“If you’re going to use the park you have to clean up,” he said. “It’s common sense.”

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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