Oahu Needs Your Help With Keeping Our Beaches Clean!
White sand beaches, tropical forest hiking trails, and vibrant sea life are some extraordinary elements that make up the Hawaiian Islands. Not only is Hawaii’s beauty unmatched, but the way the islands have provided all of our necessary resources from many generations in the past reveal to us a powerful connection to protect this land. As an avid ocean lover, I have seen the harmful effects of plastic waste and trash on our local beaches, lakes, canals and boat harbors. Visitors to favored beaches like Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park produce a heartbreaking amount of waste that the city’s rubbish cans can’t contain. Kailua Beach, Waimea Bay, and Hanauma Bay are populated with sun-seekers daily who leave behind lunch wrappers, plastic bottles, straws, and cigarette butts that get carried into the water or eaten by birds and other animals.
It’s not just the tourists visiting the island who are the main culprits. According to the Department of Environmental Services “Oahu generates more than 2.2 million tons of waste annually from residential, commercial, and industrial sources.” Oahu has over 974,000 residents according to the 2019 Census of Honolulu County.
Our Location Is Unique
Hawaii’s island chain takes in a lot of marine debris from floating clusters of garbage like The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. The span of this patch is not only visible on the surface of the water, but reaches the depth of the ocean floor. It’s hard to pinpoint one source for the accumulation of such a large mass of waste but stormwater runoff, improper waste management, and littering could all be factors in the gathering of marine debris. “To see a video of the huge scope of such a garbage cluster, check out this video by NOAA’s National Ocean Service Video About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Beach plastic pollution window display at Oliver Men’s Shop in Kailua
From time to time I will pick up rubbish while at the beach or on walks, and lately I’ve tried to revisit my favorite spots that are in need of some care. If you have a desire to rehabilitate a beach, walking path, or help cover up graffiti vandalism you can visit the 808 Cleanups site and “Adopt a Site” or connect with other groups in your area that need a few extra hands. 808 Cleanups can help support you with the supplies necessary to make your efforts easier. The 808 Cleanups App helps you log your clean up hours and the types of waste you have collected on each clean up. You decide when and where you want to help and the App helps you compile a log for an overall collection of all of the volunteers clean ups.
Friends of Hanauma Bay
Friends of Hanauma Bay is a group of volunteers who are “dedicated to the conservation of coastal and marine environments, emphasizing stewardship of the natural resources of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.” They carry out quarterly cleanups of the nature preserve and beach park, decreasing the chances of waste being carried in from the beach park into the ocean through heavy storm runoff, causing damage to the reef and marine life. Friends of Hanauma are always seeking volunteers to help assist with beach cleanups on a quarterly basis, check out Friends of Hanauma Bay for unique volunteer opportunities. Volunteer to be a “Friend of Hanauma Bay”
Surfrider Foundation: Oahu Chapter
The Surfrider Foundation is widely known for bringing ocean awareness and “works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.” The Surfrider Foundation has 85 Chapters throughout coastal communities in the USA and Canada, composed of like–minded individuals in local communities who take ocean preservation seriously and find ways to enjoy the clean up work. Currently they are broadcasting a wide range of helpful webinars pertaining to the impact of Covid-19. Webinar topics include, “ Sustainable Parenting in the Age of Covid-19”, “Tips on Zero Waste Living” and a Beach Protection Issues” webinar. They also help promote “Ocean Friendly Restaurants” that are implementing ocean friendly practices including no use of plastics or polystyrene aka styrofoam, follow proper recycling practices, and make efforts in reducing waste by offering paper straws only when requested. By preventing the amount of waste we produce, we will make the necessary changes in protecting the beautiful place that gives so much to us.
Let’s all make a goal to do our part in bringing awareness and to strive to keep our coastlines clean. Considering we all love and enjoy our beaches, we should all have a hand in keeping them beautiful and healthy!