Day 36: Beach Garbage Is a Serious Problem

One of our friends here invited us to a beach cleanup on one of Oahu’s dirties beaches today. Though it’s not a public beach (it’s part of a wildlife refuge), the currents bring literal tons of trash to the beach where animals eat it and die.

One thing I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around is littering. Not only are you making the area you’re currently occupying dirtier–you’re making it dirtier for others and harming the local flora and fauna. Furthermore, while I get that in gross places like Baltimore (sorry not sorry) it may not seem like as big of a deal–why on earth would you look around somewhere as gorgeous as Hawaii and just throw your trash on the ground? I understand that it isn’t all litter that’s washing up on these shores; a lot of it gets blown off of trash heaps at dumps or the backs of trucks and the like. But still. If you litter: KNOCK IT OFF!

We probably only spent about two hours cleaning up, which doesn’t seem like much when you consider the sheer volume of garbage that was everywhere. We filled our bag with mostly chunks of plastic and helped someone drag a giant ball of netting/rope in from the shoreline. I saw people bringing in all kinds of crazy stuff from the beach, but the majority of it was fishing industry waste (nets, rope, buoys, etc.) and busted up pieces of plastic.

Afterward we hung out with some friends in the area and called it a day. It’s definitely a bummer that garbage is such a big problem, but it’s encouraging to see so many people (like the ones at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Plastic Free Hawaii) fighting it regularly.

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