On International Coastal Cleanup Day, held on September 21, 2019, Hawaiian Paddle Sports and Hawaii Mermaid Adventures hosted a beach cleanup at Po‘olenalena Beach Park. As we play and make a living on the ocean, we feel it is our kuleana, or responsibility, to clean the area and increase awareness about the growing problem of ocean and beach pollution, even on an island as beautiful as Maui. It’s why we start every lesson with a mini-beach cleanup, and always make it a point to leave our beaches cleaner than we found them.
Nearly 50 volunteers, including our staff, locals and visitors, helped pick up thousands of pieces of trash in just over two hours. Lunch and volunteer t-shirts were provided courtesy of Outrigger Pizza, Pau Maui Vodka, and A Makebelieve Company.
It was disheartening, and eye-opening to many, to realize how many people don’t properly dispose of their rubbish. After the cleanup, this data was added to the International Coastal Cleanup’s marine debris database. Results from the data help inform policy and debris removal efforts.
For more than 30 years, The Ocean Conservancy has hosted the worldwide International Coastal Cleanup event. In this time, nearly 12 million volunteers from 153 countries have removed over 220 million pounds of trash from our waterways and beaches.
The issue of marine debris – particularly plastic pollution – is one of the most significant problems plaguing our ocean environment. Over 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean each year, and it is estimated that the amount of plastics in our ocean will outnumber fish by the year 2050. Seabirds, turtles, fish, and dolphins commonly mistake plastic for food. Plastics also absorb toxic chemicals and pollutants that then weave their way up the food chain.
The good news is that by working together, we can significantly curb plastic pollution.
Maui’s International Coastal Cleanup was organized by Hawaiian Paddle Sports as part of its Malama Maui community give back program.