Teenage eco-ambassadors tidy up plastic trash from Hawaii’s shoreline
Hawaii is well known for having one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches on earth — and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep them this way. A remote area on Hawaii Island’s southeast coast is full of trash and marine debris carried by trade and currents winds. Items which wash ashore include plastic materials frequently, commercial fishing equipment and discarded household goods — a troubling reminder of the existing health of our oceans.
But it’s getting cleaned up within a responsible tourism project, because of a combined band of students from New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Day on Sept in recognition of International Coastal Cleanup. 21, the ocean Cleaners, a fresh Zealand-based environmental nonprofit leader, and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund have partnered with Hawaii Tourism Oceania, Hawaii Tourism Japan and Hawaiian Airlines to create the young leaders to Hawaii Island for beach cleanups in this remote section of Hawaii Island. A crew from National Geographic is filming the beach cleanup because of its Eco-Traveler show, that will air in Oceania at another time.
“The ongoing work we have been doing is for the children and our children’s children,” said Hayden Smith of Sea Cleaners. “We should make changes now to the true way we operate our day to day lives without wasted consumption.”
The 12 students, who have been selected because of the leadership in sustainability, use their experience to steward youth within their respective countries. While on the island of Hawaii, they’re talking to local students, and can take part in a voluntourism experience in Waipio Valley. Yesterday, the visiting group spoke with students at Konawaena SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL about the need for environmental stewardship, and were joined by big wave Konawaena and surfer graduate Shane Dorian. In addition, the combined group spoke with students at Honaunau Elementary School.
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“Because the hometown carrier for 90 years, we understand the tremendous responsibility we’ve in looking after these Islands,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community and cultural relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “Our hope this International Coastal Cleanup Day would be to bring people together to malama honua (look after our Island Earth) and inspire others to become listed on us in protecting all which makes Hawaii special.”
The partnership underscores the organizations’ long-term commitment to sustainability and aims to improve plastic awareness by encouraging visitors to respect the surroundings both in the home so when traveling abroad. Tourism dollars collected in Hawaii through the Transient Accommodations Tax are assisting to purchase this responsible tourism initiative.