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Volunteers collect trash from neighborhoods and shorelines during town cleanup

By Staff | Oct 3, 2019

More than 500 volunteers cleaned 12 square miles during the Lahaina Town Clean Up on Sept. 21.

LAHAINA – The 15th annual Lahaina Town Clean Up was held on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. An estimated 500 volunteers – including school groups, non-profits, civic clubs, local businesses, residents and visitors – joined one million volunteers in over 120 countries that day.

Volunteers spent the day cleaning up over 12 square miles, including Lahaina streets, harbors and beaches from Puamana to Honokowai, both boat harbors and Lahainaluna Road.

Lahaina participated in the Ocean Conservancy’s 34th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to remove trash from local waterways, beaches, lakes and rivers. Since the first ICC, more than 15 million volunteers have removed nearly 315 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide.

“When you join a cleanup, you are advancing one of the most immediate and impactful solutions to keeping plastics out of the ocean,” said Tambara Garrick, organizer from the LahainaTown Action Committee;

“Which is why we are so grateful to all the amazing volunteers who came out today. Awareness has really grown around the issue of ocean plastic, and it’s great to see people taking action.”

The Lahaina Town Clean Up is more than a shoreline clean up; it focuses on the entire town preventing waste from making its way to our shoreline.

In addition to the cleanup, volunteers from the Surfrider Foundation, sponsored by new local retail business “Hi I Like You,” tested 30 West Side beaches for enterococcus (E. Coli) bacteria. Results from the testing will be shared by the Surfrider Foundation-Maui Chapter.

A group from the Lahaina restaurant/bar The Dirty Monkey stenciled over 30 storm drain inlets in Lahaina with the awareness message of “No Dumping Drains to Ocean.” The stenciling project was in partnership with the County of Maui to help people be mindful of how their actions on land can affect stream and ocean health.

Volunteers from Surfrider and Lahaina Yacht Club covered Mala Ramp, while the Pacific Whale Foundation and Maui Sustainable Solutions cleaned Lahaina Harbor.

A group of student volunteers walked down Lahainaluna Road as other groups from Lahainaluna High School, Lahaina Intermediate, Maui Preparatory Academy and Sacred Hearts School covered the neighborhood streets of Lahaina.

808 Mopeds, led by business owner Joe White, brought a group from Honokowai to cover the highways, while volunteers from Whalers Village led by Hula Grill and TS Restaurants, Lululemon and Whalers Village Shops covered the Kaanapali area.

To further future efforts, TS Restaurants and Whalers Village are supporting a specialized “Hard to Reach Beach Clean Up” this fall on Lanai with local non-profits Love the Sea, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Surfider, and a group of professional waterman to support clean shorelines in Maui County.

Matt Lane, membership and events coordinator for event organizer LahainaTown Action Committee, said, “We are excited to work with local businesses to support our local coalitions’ efforts to keep our shorelines clean. We want to work on training groups on personal preventive initiatives to stop waste at its source in our daily consumption. TS Restaurants are great example of participation in the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program through the Surfrider Foundation.”

Every year, millions of tons of trash – including an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste – flow into the ocean, entangling wildlife, polluting beaches and costing coastal municipalities hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Last year, all ten of the top ten most-collected items were made of plastic, including cigarette butts (which contain plastic filters), food wrappers, straws and stirrers, and – for the first time – plastic forks, knives and spoons, which are among the deadliest types of marine debris to ocean animals.

Plastics, which never fully biodegrade but break up into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics, are of particular concern.

The board president for LahainaTown Action Committee, Sne Patel, said, “We are so grateful for both the monetary and in-kind donations from our community that allowed us to create an event that not only had a big impact but was also a lot of fun.”