HWF Coastline Clean-Up Receives Crowd-Fund Boost
Isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i’s shorelines can become a gathering place for ocean debris that has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles. The Hawai’i Wildlife Fund has been combating the problem on the Big Island since 2003, and a new crowd-funded donation from over 255 donors across Japan will only strengthen the efforts.
The campaign “Protect the Coast of Hawai’i” is spearheaded by Junji Takasago, a nature photographer and the director of the nonprofit Ocean Wildlife Society; Manu Yamashita, a travel writer; and Angela Maki Vernon, a professional surfer, raised nearly $4,000. Megan Lamson, HWF’s Marine Debris Project Coordinator and marine biologist, met with Takasago in May to receive the donation.
“This donation will be used to continue our beach cleanups and outreach work related to marine debris on Hawai’i Island. Since we began our cleanup efforts in Hawai’i in 2003, HWF and volunteers have removed over 177 us tons of marine debris. This funding will help us plan and implement more cleanup efforts through the end of the year,” Lamson said.
Many of HWF’s cleanups are focused on the southeast side of the Big Island, where 15-20 tons of marine debris is washed up annually within a 10 mile span. According to the HWF, the shoreline will continue to be littered until there is a reduction in single-use plastic worldwide.
“Marine debris is a people problem and because of that it gives us hope, as people can also fix this problem,” Stacy Breining, HWF’s Marine Debris Mentor and Outreach Specialist said.
Takasago, Yamashita, and Vernon say their love for the coastline of Hawai’i is what drew them into the project. On the crowd-fund website, the trio says, “You can experience 2/3 of the earth’s environment in Hawai’i as it covers the deep sea to 4200m above sea level with the Mauna Kea Mountain. Unfortunately, debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan heads toward this beautiful coast of Hawai’i. This project aims to show our appreciation for Hawai’i and at the same time make sure the tragedy and the people still recovering from the tragedy are not forgotten as they still need continuous support. We hope many join us in this important cause to protect Hawai’i.”
“Our team with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund is most honored to accept this generous donation for marine debris removal efforts and communication related to the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting Japanese Tsunami. We are humbled by the generosity of this crowd-funded project and hope to maintain contact with the organizers and the 255 contributors into the future,” said Lamson.
HWF organizers plan to hold an international symposium in Hilo in December. The symposium will be used to continue to educate and maintain dialogue about marine debris, tsunami diftage and disaster prevention with partners across the North Pacific.
To learn more about HWF, the December symposium, or to support HWF’s marine debris removal and prevention efforts, e-mail [email protected].