By Mary Simms
PACIFIC OCEAN (KHNL) - A day after a member of the U.S. Coast Guard is accused of polluting Hawaiian waters, an agency stands out for being excellent stewards of the sea.
This is one of the only things that goes over board on the Hi'ialakai. It's "wet" garbage, food scraps from meals. After 33 years of sailing, Chief Stewart Allen Gary says this is the most environmentally friendly ship he's ever been on.
"I've been sailing quite a awhile and I've seen the evolution of the old sailors who dumped everything and now we're to a point where we need to be concerned about mother earth," says Gary.
Working in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands prompted the crew to make eco-friendly changes.
"The monument has some real strict regulations for discharge and our goal is to exceed those regulations," said Commander Jon Swallow.
"The difficulty they were having from the scientists standpoint is, everyday the ship would have to leave the monument, go outside fifty nautical miles, and pump out their sewage holding tanks," said Chief Engineer Sara Greene.
By installing low flow toilets, shower heads, and energy efficient washers, the crew decreased their water usage 2,400 gallons a day. It allows them to spend more time on station, studying the monument.
"NOAA has a big culture where everyone is real excited and respects the environment, and we don't want to make an impact. We want to study it, but not make an impact," said Swallow.
Green hopes other ships will follow their lead.