By Nina Wu
It's time for the 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, Sept. 17.
For the pat 25 years, nearly nine million volunteers from 152 countries have picked up 145 million pounds of trash from the shores of lakes, streams, rivers and the ocean on this one day. The movement is called "Get The Drift & Bag It."
You, too, can join them on Oahu, from the windward to the leeward side.
Beach cleanups are planned on Saturday at the following beaches:
- Kailua Beach Park, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Join Plastic Free Kailua, which welcomes volunteers to help pick up, sort and count trash from the beach with fine, soft sand. Check-in time is 10 a.m. near the Canoe House, main parking lot. At noon, join Plastic Free Kailua for a trash count and low-impact potluck lunch plus raffle prizes from Whole Foods, Muumuu Heaven and Global Village.
- Ali‘i Beach Park at the Haleiwa Surf Center. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Check-in starts at 8:45 a.m. Volunteers will weigh trash, recycle and compile data cards for the Ocean Conservancy. Bring buckets, grocery bags, sunscreen, hats, work gloves, pens and a snack to share. Also, if you haven't seen it yet, "Bag It" is being shown for free at Patagonia Haleiwa (66-250 Kamehameha Hwy) from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, too.
- Chun's Reef in Haleiwa. 10 a.m.-noon. Visit adoptabeachhawaii.org for more details.
- Sand Island Beach Park. 10 a.m.-noon. Meet at the ewa side end of Sand Island Access Rd. Organized by the Surfrider Foundation. Bring reusable canvas bags and gloves. Sponsors Hoku Solar and Pilates Advantage will provide free food and a raffle.
- Malaekahana Beach Park, Kahuku end. 9-11 a.m.
- Makua Beach Park. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Over and under the beach cleanup — you can choose to dive and pick up underwater trash or help others clean up the dive entry area. Visit www.projectaware.org for more details.
Kudos to the 100 or so Hawaiian Electric employees, retirees, families and friends who plan to clean up the shoreline fronting the Kahe Power Plant from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. If you know someone from HECO, perhaps you could pitch in.
In 2010, HECO volunteers collected 8,500 pieces of trash at the site, nearly half attributed to shoreline activities that generate fast food wrappers, beverage bottles and plastic utensils. HECO's tally: 427 used tires, 2,933 cigarette butts, 1.023 pieces of fishing and boat-related items and 31 medical/personal hygiene-related items that were picked up and properly disposed of.
Results from the marine debris collection are used in an annual report produced by The Ocean Conservancy. This may well be the last data collected from beach clean-ups before debris from the Japan tsunami start appearing on Hawaii's shores.