HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kailua Beach has consistently been voted best beach in America.
But for the past week, it's been covered in pollution.
"Thousands and thousands of pounds,” said Anissa Gunther, manager at Kailua Beach Adventures.
From one end of Kailua Beach to the other, the sand has been blanketed with a layer of microplastics.
Volunteers using sand sifters have been working tirelessly to clean the particles from their beloved beach. But day after day, the plastic keeps washing up.
"It's really eye-opening,” Gunther said. “People really are surprised and shocked when they come out here and they see how much plastic is in the sand."
Gunther is hoping Bill 40, which bans most disposable plastic utensils and food service items, will help with the global issue.
“It’s really sad to see what’s happening with the plastic on the beach and it’s just kind of a signal for a bigger problem,” she said. “We have a big, big world problem to fix.”
The latest study shows China tops the charts in terms of countries polluting our oceans with 8.8 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste, 3.5 million metric tons of it ending up in the ocean.
While Gunther admits it’s impossible to get it all, they work with youth programs and schools to turn plastic they collect into art projects to raise awareness about a problem that seems to be getting worse every year.
"We want to be optimistic and hopeful and it's starts with our youth. So, it's really good to see that all the schools now are making this a big part of their education programs."
There are two beach cleanups planned for Monday, January 20.
Volunteers are being asked to check in at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua on 248 N. Kalaheo Avenue and at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge in Kahuku at 8:30 a.m.