81-year-old volunteer picks up litter from Ala Moana Beach Park five days a week
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Halawa Heights woman was tired of seeing trash at Ala Moana Beach Park, so she decided to do something about it.
Two decades later, the same woman is still committed to keeping the park pristine.
With a trash bag in one hand and tongs in the other, 81-year-old Myrna Ariola has quite a following.
"Hi Mel," said Ariola.
You could refer to them as fans of her work.
"I expect it to be dirty on Monday," said Ariola.
Starting about 7 a.m., you can find Ariola picking up litter along the shoreline, the sidewalk, and even in the picnic area.
"I raked all the leaves over here," said Ariola.
Ariola has been doing this Monday through Friday for the past 22 years.
"The staff in this park is working hard. They don't have time to do the minor things," said Ariola.
Myrna first visited this beach as a child, a few years before World War II. After she got married, she continued the tradition by bringing her family here as well. Myrna started picking up the rubbish on a regular basis when she saw it building up on the ocean floor.
"When I used to swim I used to see all the garbage underneath in the water. Paper plates, napkins, cups. I mean garbage. Who wants to swim in that," said Ariola.
Myrna never asks for help, but instead she hopes her actions are an example for people to follow.
"Just having people say thank you is very gratifying. I know the water is cleaner. I know the beach is cleaner. I know whatever I'm doing helps," said Ariola.
Many people say Myrna should be on the city's payroll for all she does here at the park. But she tells Hawaii News Now that would make it a job, and would take all the enjoyment she gets out of it.
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