A middle school student from Colorado was visiting Kaua‘i with his family. He wanted to assist with various clean up efforts on our island as part of his school's Capstone Project. Jimmy and his mom assisted County staff on Monday, March 25, 2019 for a Po‘ipū recycling bin striping project. Please find his essay below about his experiences on Kaua‘i!
Please contact the County Recycling office at: 808-241-4841 if you would also like to volunteer your time! Mahalo!
By: Jimmy Manassee
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Trash In The Ocean
During my Spring Break, I picked up trash on the beaches of Hawaii for my school’s Capstone Project. When I saw so many bottle caps, I was shocked. The reason there are so many bottle caps is that when people put their trash in the various recycling bins, they realize that they can't recycle the bottle caps so then they just throw them on the ground. This is only one small part of the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean, which is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
In Hawaii, some of the hotels and restaurants are using wooden straws to help the ocean plastic problem. There are also many dedicated volunteers who go every week to pick up trash that washes ashore on the beach. When I went to volunteer, it was actually a lot of fun picking up the trash because while you are doing it you know that you are doing the right thing. There are many organizations that support these kinds of efforts, like the Surfrider Foundation, which picks up 10,000 pounds of trash per month just on the of Kaua‘i.
Statistics say that the average person in the US uses 360 plastic bags per year. People can help solve the problem of ocean trash by not using single-use plastics because they're just going to end up in the ocean.
People can also help by using less water, and people should drive less because when the ocean absorbs greenhouse gases then the ocean temperature rises and that ends up killing much of the coral. People should also throw away their cigarette butts if they smoke. If they put their cigarette butts out in the sand and leave them there, it can create environmental problems.
There are many organizations that you can either donate to or volunteer for, including the Surfrider Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Lonely Whale Foundation, and the Bahamas Plastic Movement. I believe that there is potential for the oceans to become clean. Many people are trying to design ocean cleanup machines. Their ideas have been invested in, but there haven't been great results yet. If you go to a school near a beach, you can suggest that your school does a beach cleanup. When you are on a beach, look around and see if there is any trash. Even a little bit of time could make a huge impact. It will help the environment and the health of the beach.