Plastic pollution is a global problem with local solutions. Like so many threats facing our native wildlife today, marine debris is something that is clearly “our” fault (as humans), and so we must collaborate with a diverse group of humans around the world to fully address this critical issue. Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) is committed to doing just that. Since 2016, HWF has partnered with Surfrider Foundation Kaua‘i and Pūlama Lāna‘i to help assist with community-based marine debris removal activities focused on medium-large size items.
Over the span of this three and a half year project, we have collectively removed over 626,181 pounds of marine debris (~ 50.4% derelict fishing / net bundles by weight) and we anticipate removing another 100 or more tons (the size of a mature blue whale!) over the next 1.5 years with our current NOAA Marine Debris Program removal grant award. In addition to debris removal along the equivalent of 660 miles of shoreline (several debris “hot spots” cleaned multiple times), we inspire community volunteers to reduce their own personal consumption of plastics (where alternatives exist) and to help us advocate for more eco-friendly options. Plus, our collaborators with Surfrider and NOAA are also involved in the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to work with other countries to help address these large net bundles and our own HWF Environmental Education mentors are in the classroom (or visiting virtually) to teach the next generation of Hawai‘i’s youth how to prevent marine debris and protect our coastlines.
We appreciate the support from NOAA MDP, The Ke Kai Ala Foundation and the numerous project volunteers and partners that have truly made this effort a “net” success! Want to get involved? Drop us a line or check out our Google Calendar or social media pages for upcoming events to join the team!