Clean up begins in Honolulu Harbor

Jeff Lansdown
Jeff Lansdown
Mary Leandro
Mary Leandro

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

Honolulu Harbor is Hawaii's busiest harbor. But along with all the ships in the water, trash and unwanted items have been dumped beneath the surface for decades.

Now, rubbish is being removed and recycled, in the hopes there will be a cleaner tomorrow.

On a hot hawaiian day, a dive into Honolulu Harbor is a pretty cool idea.

But the purpose behind the dive is even cooler.

"Since the harbor's conception there hasn't been any effort to remove any of the debris on the floor, it's a daunting task," said Robin Bond Jr., with Wikoliana Educational Excursions.

To clean up decades of dumping, divers bring up piles of debris. Even an old motorcycle is brought to the surface along with rubbish from below.

A crane onshore then pulls the trash from the water, and puts it in a bin to be recycled.

Which is where it could have easily gone years ago.

"Most of the garbage people dump in the harbor - they could have recycled in the first place," said Jeff Lansdown, with Wikoliana Educational Excursions.

No matter what is pulled out of Pier 7, some in the crowd are not surprised by this underwater garbage collection.

"There was so much rubbish, and it is out of sight - out of mind to people. They assume its gone - but its down there," said Mary Leandro, of Kailua.

The cleanup is a very visible reminder about the rubbish that's been dumped from piers into the harbor. But this effort won't end with just a cleanup. Instead, educational efforts are starting up to teach people about the importance of our waterways. And that message is reaching residents and visitors alike.

"They are doing something extraordinary for the environment. This made my vacation, I have pictures to show my grandson -- look what I saw with this cleanup," said Barbara Turano, from Florida.

All the materials pulled up from the ocean bottom will be taken to a recycling center. And the money returned from the scrap metals will go toward the aging ship, the Falls of Clyde, which is currently docked in Honolulu Harbor.