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Recycle Hawaii to Assist in Tsunami Debris Cleanup

Posted April 30, 2013, 11:20 AM HST
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This yellow buoy is one of the items of tsunami debris found in Hawaii. US Navy photo.

A Big Island organization has been selected as one of six non-profit groups statewide to assist in the cleanup of shoreline debris, with a focus on that generated by the March 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan.

Recycle Hawaii will receive $20,000 for the effort on the Big Island.

This map shows sightings of confirmed and potential Japanese tsunami debris in Hawaii as of April 4 (click to enlarge). NOAA image.

This map shows sightings of confirmed and potential Japanese tsunami debris in Hawaii as of April 4 (click to enlarge). NOAA image.

The total funding of $100,000 comes from a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program and a matching grant from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The state Department of Health is administering the program.

Gary Gill, deputy director of the DOH Environmental Health Administration, said the organizations chosen were those already involved in addressing the problem of marine debris.

“For years Hawaii has depended on volunteers to keep marine debris off our beaches,” Gill said. “Today, we are providing a little support for the very big job they do.”

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The other organizations and the grants they are receiving are:

  • Surfrider Kauai, $25,000 (Kauai County)
  • Hawaii Wildlife Fund, $20,000 (Maui County)
  • Surfrider Oahu, $13,000 (Honolulu County)
  • Kupu, $11,000 (Honolulu County)
  • Sustainable Coastlines, $11,000 (Honolulu County)
Debris sightings in the Pacific basin as of Feb. 7 (click to enlarge) . Map provided to NOAA by the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Debris sightings in the Pacific basin as of Feb. 7 (click to enlarge) . Map provided to NOAA by the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

The DOH said projects selected will help to reduce the impacts of marine debris from alien species, marine life entanglement, economic costs, and human health and safety.

The DOH said proposals chosen will reduce marine debris through beach cleanup and education activities that support ongoing habitat conservation in Hawaii coastal areas.

The areas of focus will be those that typically receive the most marine debris.

To date, there have been eight items in Hawaii confirmed to be tsunami debris – up from two back in November – and more than 1,700 reports of potential tsunami-related items in the US and Canada.

A Japanese fishing skiff that washed up near Kahuku on Oahu. DLNR photo.

A Japanese fishing skiff that washed up near Kahuku on Oahu. DLNR photo.

The public is urged to report findings of potential “Japan Tsunami Marine Debris” items to DLNR at (808) 587-0400 or [email protected], and to NOAA at [email protected]

For further information visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/JTMD-Guideline3.pdf.

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