What’s All That Blue Stuff? Hawaii and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

by 4Ocean Team August 29, 2018

What’s All That Blue Stuff? Hawaii and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Photo credit @jeffhawefoto

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii sees the impact of plastic pollution up-close and personal

 

Hawaii is located pretty close to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Close enough that its coastlines have become littered with marine debris that swirls out of the gyre and onto their beaches. This video from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii shows you what it really looks like inside a garbage patch. It’s not a “trash island,” but more of a “plastic soup.”

 

The scary thing they’ve noticed about plastic pollution in their area

“Over 80% of the trash we get on our windward beaches is from commercial fishing,” says SCH Executive Director Kahi Pacarro. That’s an enormous concern considering that lost and abandoned fishing gear account for 10% of ocean litter worldwide.

 
Photo credit @jeffhawefoto

The gear associated with overfishing is especially deadly to sea life. When it’s too old to be useful, it’s cut into the open ocean where it becomes a trap for all kinds of sea animals, from dolphins and whales to sharks and seals. Entanglement maims and kills hundreds of thousands of sea animals every year, including many endangered species.   

That’s what that blue stuff is. Commercial fishing nets. Pull ropes and buoys. Containers and other debris. All death traps for sea animals. “We need to know where our seafood comes from,” says Pacarro. That’s why the 4Ocean August bracelet supports sustainable fishing.

 

Why we support Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is a local grassroots nonprofit that uses hands-on beach cleanups to educate their community about the impact of plastic pollution and teach them how to care for their coastlines.

Like us, they know that cleanups only address one part of the problem. “If all we ever do is clean beaches or the oceans, that’s all we’ll ever do,” says Pacarro, “For us, it’s all about solutions.”

The Education Station is part of the solution. This modified 20-foot shipping container has become an interactive educational experience that teaches people of all ages about marine debris, coastal stewardship, and the impact of single-use plastics. 

By raising awareness, we can change behaviors and stop plastic and trash from entering the ocean in the first place. When people know about the issue, they can demand that corporations and governments provide new, more sustainable choices. And we can help end the problem rather than deal with the impact.

Since 2011, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii has recycled over 200,000 pounds of ocean plastic through partnerships with companies who upcycle it into long-lasting products.

 

Remember this picture? This is before Sustainable Coastline Hawaii went to work...


Here they are removing all that trash and plastic…

  

Look how big those nets are...

 
And this is the same area once they got finished...

 

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is a registered 501(c)3 that inspires local communities to care for their coastlines through hands-on beach cleanups. Show your support by visiting sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org.



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