Conservation group reaches major milestone in battle against marine debris

Conservation group reaches major milestone in battle against marine debris
Volunteers worked to remove a massive net bundle at Kamilo Beach in 2018. (DLNR)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island group is being recognized for their efforts in cleaning up Hawaii Island shorelines.

Volunteers with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) marked reaching 250 tons of marine debris collected just off Hawaii island.

The group began cleaning up beaches in 2003. Since then, volunteers have picked up more than 515,000 pounds of marine debris. The group has primarily focused on a stretch of south Hawaii island coastline from Ka Lae (South Point) to Waiohinu, but they have also cleaned up shores on Maui, Midway Atoll and French Frigate Shoals.

“It’s hard to envision 250 tons of marine debris. But if you can picture the largest trucks possible and fill 250 of them to the brim with plastics, nets, and all the other stuff that washes onto the reefs and onto shore, you get an idea of the scope of our efforts,” Hawaii Wildlife Fund Program Director Megan Lamson said.

The group also received a DLNR & You Citizen Conservationists Award in recognition of their efforts.

“Our volunteers are now charged with the mission to bring the message back home and change their own behavior and to spread the message that we need to start reducing plastic in our own live," Program Director Megan Lamson said.

Over the past decade, HWF reports more than 43,000 hours of volunteer time has been dedicated to beach clean ups and debris removal.

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