Archive for the ‘marine debris’ Category

Ocean trash: a people problem

May 21st, 2014


The tally from the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is in, and no surprise that cigarette butts still top the list of the Top 10 items collected. Candy wrappers came in second, followed by plastic beverage bottles and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers across the globe picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in September , the most ever collected in the event's history, according to a report released today (May 21, 2014). The new total, according to the Ocean Conservancy, is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines, in the ocean and waterways around the globe.

The Conservancy, while celebrating the volunteer effort, is also using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping the trash that ends up in the ocean at its many sources.

"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy's president and CEO. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem — perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

The full trash index is available online.

To put it in another perspective:

>> Trash collected by volunteers would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools, or weigh about the same as 823 male African elephants.

>> The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mt. Everest five times.

>> The number of bottle caps found would carpet three football fields, laid side by side.

>> There were enough items found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, fridge, stove,  microwave, washing machine, couch, tables and chairs, TV set, coffee table, rug, curtains and mattresses!

>> There were also most of the items needed for a wedding, as well as items necessary for caring for a baby. More unusual items included a plastic eyeball, 1904 typewriter, blonde wig and trampoline.

What you can do? Here are 10 Things You Can Do to help keep the seas trash-free:


Posted in beach cleanup, marine debris, Ocean | Comments Off on Ocean trash: a people problem

Papahanaumokuakea: Marine debris now viewable

January 31st, 2014

A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun, as well as marine debris, can now be viewed on Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun can be viewed as part of Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

Alas, now we can see marine debris at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, up close, without setting foot on shore (which you need permission from the government to do).

Google Maps has now captured the first 360-degree panoramic images from five new locations within the marine monument, which are sometimes referred to as the Northwestern Hawaiian islands. The announcement was actually made earlier this month, at the start of the new year.

View Larger Map

You can virtually visit Tern Island and East Island at the French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

It's the link to Laysan Island that gives you a peek of a Hawaiian monk seal (hello) plus the marine debris, pieces of broken down plastic that you can see scattered along the sand and vegetation. One image captures what looks like a plastic, laundry basket – now how did that get washed ashore of one of the isolated islands on Earth?

You also get a glimpse of birds, mostly on the Tern Island link, and a Hawaiian sea turtle at the Pearl and Hermes Atoll link.

Posted in Conservation, Hawaiian green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, marine debris | Comments Off on Papahanaumokuakea: Marine debris now viewable

RevoluSun, Surfrider clear 400 lbs at Sandy's

July 17th, 2013

RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers from solar company RevoluSun and the Surfrider Foundation cleared more than 400 pounds of marine debris and litter at Sandy Beach on Saturday (July 13).

While most people focus on large litter at beach cleanups, looking for cans, bottles and plastic bags left behind, this cleanup focused on small trash and microplastics that are more difficult to pick up.

Within an hour and a half, volunteers picked up more than 2,000 cigarette butts, 300 beverage containers and single-use food containers, along with plastic bags, polystyrene packaging, fishing nets/ropes, batteries, drug paraphernalia, condoms (yuck!) and more.

This year, RevoluSun also donated a mobile sand-sifter developed by local contractor Jason Tucker Hills (cool!). It's designed to clean sand by pulling out microplastics or plastic debris — small plastic particles generated from industrial pellets used to manufacture plastic products as well as plastic broken down from plastic products left from both land-based and ocean-based litter.

It was the fourth year in a row that RevoluSun partnered with the Surfrider Foundation's Oahu Chapter for the annual Sandy Beach cleanup.

Posted in Green business, Green events, marine debris, Ocean | Comments Off on RevoluSun, Surfrider clear 400 lbs at Sandy's

July: Beach CLEANUPs

June 29th, 2013

Several beach cleanups are planned for the month of July. After the crowds hit the beach for the 4th of July, there's definitely a need for volunteers to help sweep all the litter left behind by the revelry.

Mark your calendars:
>> 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6. For the Love is holding a beach cleanup at Ala Moana Beach Park. The group, which is teaming up with a non-profit named Love Your Coast, plans to help clean up the extra litter left behind form 4th of July celebrations. Volunteers are welcome, but instead of purchasing garbage bags and gloves, For the Love asks volunteers to bring their own bags and their own reusable garden gloves. Check in is at 10 a.m. at the oceanside of McCoy Pavilion, with lunch to be provided at 12:30 p.m., along with a mermaid performance and yoga cool down session later in the afternoon. A grand prize will be awarded for the most pounds collected.

>> 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6, Kailua Bay Cleanup with Plastic Free Kailua and 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, at Kailua  Beach Park (check in at tent across from Buzz's, free hot dogs). Visit Plastic Free Kailua's Facebook page for updates.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, July 11, Pounders Beach in Laie beach cleanup. Warner Bros., along with RealD, is encouraging people to participate in this "Pacific Rim" cleanup effort taking place concurrently at seven other coastal cities. The first 100 volunteers to show up get tickets to the movie on opening weekend, special T-shirts made of recycled materials and other prizes.

>> 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 13 at Sandy Beach. RevoluSun, in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, hosts its beach cleanup at Sandy's, followed by lunch (provided by RevoluSun) and a free RevoluSun T-shirt for volunteers.

>> 10 a.m. to noon or later on Saturday, July 27: Adopt-A-Beach Hawaii holds its monthly beach cleanup on the North Shore. Meeting spot is at Chun's Reef in Haleiwa, 61-529 Kamehameha Highway. Volunteers are provided with trash bags, water and gloves. Debris is documented for NOAA and the Ocean Conservancy.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup lat year. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers help RevoluSun and Surfrider with its annual Sandy Beach cleanup. Courtesy photo.

POPS, Plastic and Hawaii's Marine Life

April 1st, 2013

These eaten plastic bottles were collected from Hawaii's shoreline. Photo courtesy of B.E.A.C.H.

These eaten plastic bottles were collected from Hawaii's shoreline. Photo courtesy of B.E.A.C.H.

The Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai‘i and Ecology Club at the University of Hawaii at Manoa present "POPS, Plastic and Hawaii's Marine Life," a series of free, public lectures in April. The lectures will take place every Monday at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Architecture auditorium.

>> 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 8: B.E.A.C.H. co-founder Suzanne Frazer speaks about plastic in the environment and how it is harmful to our health and marine life. Learn about the chemicals in plastic.

>> 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 15: Jessica Lopez, field research supervisor for the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, discusses threats faced by the endangered monk seals, including her recent research into POPS (persistent organic pollutants).

>> 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, April 22: Dr. Brenda Jensen discusses the diversity and unique ecology of the whales and dolphins found in Hawaii, as well as her team's recent finding measuring POPs and marine debris in marine mammals.

>> 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, April 29: Dr. Magnus Engwall presents: "Assessing the Toxicity of Plastic Marine Debris & Harm to Marine Life." Dr. Engwall will speak about his research on POPs and what he's found in his investigation of plastic marine debris from Hawaii's beaches.

Posted in Green events, marine debris, Marine Life | Comments Off on POPS, Plastic and Hawaii's Marine Life

North Shore Cleanup Saturday

February 28th, 2013

Join Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for a beach cleanup on the North Shore Saturday (March 2). Meet at Turtle Bay Resort's West Lawn. Photo from

Join Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for a beach cleanup on the North Shore Saturday (March 2). Meet at Turtle Bay Resort's West Lawn. Photo from

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is hosting a North Shore beach clean up from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 2). Meet at the West Lawn at Turtle Bay Resort and follow the blue flags. The general public as well as participants of Wanderlust Oahu Festival (a four-day yoga and music event) are welcome to attend.

Shuttles will transport volunteer teams to Kahuku Golf Course Beach and Kahuku Point at the James Campbell Wildlife Refuge to collect microplastics to be recycled by Method Home.

The whole family is welcome to participate. Some fun games include a hunt for hidden glass bottles during the cleanup to win prizes, including tickets to the evening Wanderlust concert featuring ALO and Kaki King, plus day passes to Sunday festival activities, as well as kids' clothing from Patagonia, Hurley and Quiksilver.

Water, a snack, gloves, tally sheets and other cleanup materials will be provided.

For more information, visit

Posted in Green events, marine debris, Uncategorized, Volunteer | Comments Off on North Shore Cleanup Saturday

Da Hui North Shore Cleanup & Kanikapila

November 3rd, 2012

Hawaii green sea turtles on the North Shore are among marine mammals threatened by plastic litter on the shores. Photo by Nina Wu.

Hawaii green sea turtles on the North Shore are among marine mammals threatened by plastic litter on the shores. Photo by Nina Wu.

Surfers and non-surfers alike, mark your calendars for the "Da Hui North Shore Beach Clean Up" on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Check-in time is 8 a.m. at Turtle Bay Resort, where different groups will then be shuttled to various zones for the beach cleanup and treasure hunt scheduled between 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Enjoy a free barbecue and live music afterwards at about 11 a.m. from Mike Love, Paula Fuga and other bands, plus a pro-surf autograph session at 12:30 p.m.

Da Hui (short for Hui O He‘e Nalu) teams up with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for the clean up, as well as the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Eddie Aikau Foundation and Surfrider Foundation, Oahu Chapter.

Quiksilver, Hurley, Volcom, Oakley and others are sponsoring the event.

All debris collected from the  beach cleanup will be tallied and reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hard plastics will also go to Method to be transformed into recycled packaging. Method recently came out with the first bottles made from a blend of plastic debris collected from Oahu's shores for its dish + hand soap, available at Whole Foods Market.

Posted in Green events, marine debris, Ocean, Volunteer | Comments Off on Da Hui North Shore Cleanup & Kanikapila

It's Raptoberfest time

October 10th, 2012

Claire Flynt, last year's best overall winner of "One Foot at a Time" - Photo from

Claire Flynt, last year's best overall winner of "One Foot at a Time" - Photo from

It's Raptoberfest time.

That's the Rise Above Plastics version of Oktoberfest. The Surfrider Foundation kicked off the second annual "Raptober" celebration earlier last week - it's a month-long effort to educate and inspire the public to eliminate plastic waste from our oceans.

"Each year millions of seabirds, fish and marine mammals die due to ingestion of, or entanglement in plastic," said Bill Hickman, Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastic Program Coordinator. "By dedicating the entire month of October toward educating the public on the effects of marine plastics, we hope to jump start their desire to reduce their own personal plastic footprints and the amount of litter reaching our seas."

Some simple things you can do (as illustrated by Raptoberfest cartoons) include:

>> If you see a friend drinking out of a plastic water bottle, encourage them to switch to a reusable water bottle.

>> If you see a a friend using a single-use plastic bag, offer them a reusable bag.

>> During the week of Oct. 15, join or renew your membership to the Surfrider Foundation for a discount of $30 and get a wallet or pocketbook handmade from upcycled plastic bags collected from Bali beaches.

Read more at "10 Ways" to reduce your plastic footprint.

Participate in the "One Foot at a Time" plastic cleanup challenge again. Here's how it works: Participants collect one square foot of trash from their beach or community, then use the material to create a unique mosaic sculpture using one of five downloadable templates on the Foundation's Raptober event website.

The Foundation will judge photo submissions of the sculptures. Winners get cool surfgear, including a surfboard, from Rusty.

Visit for more about the contest.

Posted in Contests, marine debris, Ocean, Plastic | Comments Off on It's Raptoberfest time

Join the Plastic Pollution Conversation

October 4th, 2012

Captain Charles Moore, author of "Plastic Ocean," will return to Oahu on Sunday, Oct. 14 for  more of "The Plastic Pollution Conversation — Pacific Rim Tour 2012." He'll be at the University Laboratory School Cafeteria from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

If you haven't joined the conversation yet, now's a good time to begin.

Moore, also founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute, is eager to tell you the story of how he first stumbled upon plastic debris, now known as the Pacific Garbage Patch sailing from Hawaii back to California after a yacht race — how the "plastic soup" pollution continues, and how it is harmful to the ocean as well as human health.

He'll talk about the most recently completed Algalita expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch as well as the 2011 tsunami debris making its way across the North Pacific Gyre.

"Plastic is now a pollutant - it was unintended, but it happens to be an unintended consequence of doing everything more easily with plastic," says Moore. "The throwaway lifestyle, discard of single-use plastics has created, along with other disposed plastics, a plastic soup in our generalized ocean with garbage patches in the five major gyres. Millions of square miles of the ocean are highly polluted with the broken down products of our plastic me this requires a plastic pollution conversation."

Moore wants to bring the volume of the conversation up. Besides Hawaii, he travels to Japan, Hong Kong,  Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

"We've got to rethink our relationship with plastic," he says.

The talk is presented by Moore's Algalita Marine Research Institute, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, University Laboratory School and Surfrider Foundation. University Laboratory School is at 1776 University Ave. Parking is available on the lower athletic field.

For more information, contact

Posted in marine debris, Ocean, Plastic | Comments Off on Join the Plastic Pollution Conversation

Method makes bottle from Hawaii's ocean plastic

October 2nd, 2012


Check it out!

Method is introducing what it calls "the world's first bottle made with ocean plastic" for its new 2-in-1 dish and hand soap.

It's made partially from plastic debris that Method employees hand-collected from Hawaii beaches over the last year and a half, in partnership with non-profit groups including the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Just two weeks ago, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii organized a beach cleanup at Kailua and Lanikai, where more than 700 volunteers collected 11,306 pieces of microplastic.

The San Francisco-based company worked with Envision Plastics to recycle the plastic debris into bottles, which are a combination of ocean plastic and post-consumer recycled plastic. The result is a gray resin.

Method, which makes green cleaning products, introduced the bottle to help raise awareness about the several million tons of plastic that pollute the ocean and harm the marine populations every year.

According to Method:

>> Plastics are estimated to represent almost 80 percent of the total marine debris floating in the world's oceans.

>> On average, there are 46,000 pieces of plastic swirling in each square mile of our oceans.

>> Every year, at least 1 million sea birds and 100,000 sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales die from eating plastic. (You've seen the laysan albatross with stomachs full of plastic).

>> Fish in the middle depths of the Northern Pacific Ocean are ingesting up to 24,000 tons of plastic per year.

>> A total of 267 species around the world are harmed by plastic: 86 percent sea turtles, 44 percent seabirds and 43 percent of ocean mammals ingest or become tangled in plastic (Remember the beached whale on Kauai that biologists later found had swallowed plastic?)

"Through this new and innovative use of recovered ocean plastic, we hope to show how design can be used to tackle environmental problems," said Method in its card description. "We're not saying that the solution to the ocean plastic problem is making bottle out of trash, but by doing so we can prove that there are alternatives to using virgin materials — like PCR plastic, which we use in all of our bottles. By recycling + reusing existing plastic, we can turn off the tap."

Method's ocean plastic bottles of dish + hand soap hits the shelves at Whole Foods Market nationwide this week for $4.99. The biodegradable formula is available in two fragrances: sea minerals or sweet water. Also available at

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