College students take trash on beaches into their own hands

Jonathan Onaga
Jonathan Onaga
Joel Ching
Joel Ching

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

MAGIC ISLAND (KHNL) - They could be out partying, or soaking up the sun every day on the beach. But some college guys, home from the mainland, are spending their summer vacation organizing a clean-up along all of Oahu's shores.

They're launching their mission on the South Shore.

What's amazing about this is these guys aren't part of any environmental group or business.

They're just a group of friends who one day decided to take it upon themselves to take care of the trash on Oahu's beaches.

A wave of concern over Oahu's shoreline washed over these friends, after being away for college in California.

"You go up there, and the beaches, and environment and people there think it's nice, Malibu and stuff, but it's pretty gross to tell you the truth and we want to keep what we have here really beautiful," said Jonathan Onaga, one of the organizers of the clean-up.

Alarmed by the rubbish littered along the South Shore, especially in Waikiki where tourist traffic is high, Punahou graduate Joel Ching decided to spearhead a clean-up.

"Coming home from the mainland, I really opened my eyes up to Hawaii again. I really started to appreciate what we have back home," said Ching.

"It's just ridiculous the amount of things people just throw anywhere. I mean, I want to keep Hawaii clean," said Clinton Hirano, also an organizer.

They spent their summer pitching their idea to businesses, attracting more than 10 sponsors.

And that support has made it possible for the clean up, set for August 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Their hope is that volunteers will come out and share their vision of a pristine place that both locals and tourists can continue to enjoy.

"It's the only place in the world like this. And we're so blessed to live here and be able to have this resource everyday," said Onaga.

There will be two clean-up stations, one at Waikiki Beach, the other at Magic Island.

Ching is also working with the Mayor to expand the clean up to all of Oahu's shores, and make it an annual event on every second Saturday of August.