By: Mark Manuel, Pacific Islands Regional Coordinator for the Marine Debris Program
Kaua‘i’s eastern coastline offers beautiful white sand beaches with a wide variety of activities for locals and visitors alike. However, due to the regional northeast trade winds, these beaches are also severely impacted by marine debris. Fortunately, the Surfrider Organization Kaua‘i Chapter (Surfrider) has been combating the inevitable flux of marine debris arriving to this coastline since 2007.
To manage this issue, Surfrider conducts weekly “net patrols,” where volunteers traverse miles of beaches, removing large debris items ranging from conglomerates of fishing nets, gas cylinders, tires, and even the occasional derelict vessel. The core group of Surfrider volunteers also organizes monthly community beach cleanups to educate the public through hands-on removal activities. This past year, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) partnered with Surfrider to support these removal efforts from June 2015 to June 2016, funded through collaboration with the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation.
In one year, Surfrider and volunteers conducted 27 community cleanups and 120 net patrols, resulting in the removal of an astounding 47,358 pounds of marine debris! Of this total, 15,180 pounds were shipped off for recycling and to create energy through various partnerships, including the Hawai‘i Nets-to-Energy Program.
For more on removal efforts supported by the MDP, check out our website.