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Hundreds throw ‘genki balls’ into Ala Wai Canal as part of effort to clean waterway

From keiki to kupuna, scores gathered to throw specially made balls into the Ala Wai Canal as part of a big effort to clean the waterway.
Published: Apr. 2, 2022 at 5:09 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2022 at 5:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From keiki to kupuna, scores gathered to throw specially made balls into the Ala Wai Canal as part of a big effort to clean the waterway.

Hundreds of volunteers were in Waikiki to help introduce bioremediation technology into the canal in the form of genki balls — which means healthy and vital in Japanese.

“Basically they (genki balls) are made of micro-organisms, so they are all beneficial microbes,” said Hiromichi Nago, technical coordinator of the Ala Wai Project. “A teaspoon of a healthy soil has a billion bacteria according to USDA, so one ball has 3.3 billion to 33 billion beneficial bacteria.”

Nago said their goal is to make the Ala Wai fishable and swimmable in 7 years. The organization said their focus is to reclaim this canal for future generations.

The Ala Wai project hosted two events — one on Saturday and the other on March 12 — allowing community members to throw the balls into the canal.

“It’s a great innovative way to help clean up the Ala Wai, which we know is an eye sore,” said Dan Shiu, branch manager of UBS Honolulu.

“Everybody thinks the Ala Wai is just a collection of high fecal bacteria and pollution. Even though it is used for recreational use like paddlers and what not but it can be a jewel in Waikiki,” Nago said.

Saturday’s event was a team effort from UBS Wealth Management the Hawaii Exemplary State Foundation and the Eco Rotary Club of Kakaako.

Those interested in supporting their work can donate $5 to have a genki ball made.

For more information or to donate, click here.

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