Being actively part of the ocean industry, much of Our Future depends on the future of the oceans. Exactly one month ago today, we were a part of one of the World's Largest Beach Cleanup efforts. And even though we regularly participate in beach cleanups in our local area, it still never ceases to amaze us how much garbage is collected off our shorelines, each time.
Helping scuba divers unload ocean debri
Sorting marine debri
Over the past year we have become friends with a woman who has the biggest heart and works hard to ensure the coastlines along Puako and Kawaihae are as free of marine debris as possible. Cynthia Ho has been organizing these local beach cleanups for years and her Non Profit Organization, Keep Puako Beautiful, is dedicated to beach and trail cleanups for Keep Hawaii Beautiful and Get The Drift & Bag It!
Cleanup crew with Cynthia Ho, Event Organizer, in the middle
Cleanup volunteers return with buckets full of trash
GET THE DRIFT & BAG IT! is Hawaiʻi’s contribution to the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) which started in 1986. Ocean Conservancy’s ICC engages volunteer organizations and individuals to remove trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways and help to identify the sources of debris, and to change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place.
Tina, collecting toxic sunscreen and educating the public
We had a pretty epic morning organized which more than fifty people turned up for. Along with our standard beach cleanup event, we also had other activities for the public which included a toxic sunscreen trade-in with Little Hands Hawaii and a scavenger hunt for the kids with a bunch of rad prizes, including two paintings by actual dolphins from Dolphin Quest, Waikoloa.
Prizes for the keiki, two paintings done by dolphins!
Eric, educating the public on the effects of harmful sunscreen
Trade in your toxic sunscreen for FREE Reef-Safe Sunscreen, Little Hands Hawaii
Leandra Keuma from Circle of Life Hilo came to Puako to help us do creative art projects with the kids. Circle of Life Art Studio seeks to inspire creativity within students of all ages. Their mission is to encourage creative expression through a variety of art mediums within a safe and comfortable learning environment. Created by Leandra Keuma, a highly qualified certificated elementary teacher, with a BA in Communication and a Minor in Sociology, art appreciator, and mother of two beautiful children, we were so blessed to have her come and help encourage the children in Puako.
Creating marine trash art mobiles
Cynthia painted recycled paint mixers blue and labelled them with messages like "Save our Oceans" and "Be Reef Safe". We used these to hang bottle caps and interesting pieces of plastic attached to fishing line we found along the shoreline that morning, to create upcycled mobiles. It's a strange, somewhat beautiful, but also slightly disturbing thing to be teaching kids to make things out of trash.
Art on the beach with Leandra Keuma, Circle of Life Art Studio Hilo
Bonding moments with her boys
Dolphin Quest also had an amazing little art station for the kids using microplastics (extremely small pieces of plastic debris in the environment resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste). The children were able to create mosaics on pieces of paper and their imaginations ran wild.
Epic activities provided by Dolphin Quest, Waikoloa
These pieces of microplastics looked very similar to beach glass, and some of the colors were stunning. Still makes you sick to your stomach to think about where they all came from, and how much of it is lining our shorelines today. Not to mention, being disguised as "fish food" out in the ocean for so many sea creatures.
We were able to create a couple of super cool trucker hats using the micro plastics and these have turned into excellent conversations starters and tools to raise awareness of our beach cleanups and what we do.
Sundot Marine Marlin hat inspired by Microplastics
The kids (and adults) had a blast jumping off the pier to refresh after cleaning up, weighing and collating the debri collected. And as per usual, Cynthia organized an amazing pot luck lunch for everyone to enjoy.
Roots swimming with mom after helping clean up the beach!
It was another successful beach cleanup, thanks to the many businesses and volunteers in our community. We encourage you to get involved at a local beach in your area or reach out to us for more information on how you can help.
Every little bit helps to ensure the ocean and its creatures will be there for our children to enjoy.
You can get more info from the following websites: