57 tons of debris removed from Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

57 tons of debris removed from Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: Oct. 28, 2014 at 7:01 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 28, 2014 at 10:58 PM HST
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PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 33-day cleanup effort in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands recently yielded a record haul of 57 tons.

"We see everything from car bumpers to tires to computer monitors" said Kyle Koyanagi, part of the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

19 divers took part in the cleanup. It was painstaking work, as it was all done by hand.

"It's proven to be the most efficient way. A lot of the times heavy machinery just can't get into the areas that the nets are actually located" said Chief Scientist Mark Manuel.

The mission was primarily about cleaning up the environment, but the divers also wound up saving three green sea turtles from entanglement.

"We probably got to them just in time, who knows how long they would have stayed alive if we didn't get to them" said Manuel.

Removing the debris is incredibly important, not just for the environment, but the animals living there. Said Dianna Parker of the NOAA Marine Debris Program "every single dead bird that is found on Midway Atoll has plastics found in its body cavity".

The silver lining of all the rubbish being collected is that the netting will be cut up and burned at H-Power to provide electricity for homes in Hawaii.

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