Hawaii can do many things to limit ocean pollution

Paradise, utopia or the perfect getaway are different names for the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii is a popular place for visitors from around the world. As islands with glorious beaches, breathtaking views and fascinating culture, these islands never seem to lose their beauty.

But behind all the big hotels, shop fronts and blooming green mountains piles of rubbish spill into the waters of the archipelago. Plastic swims into the mouths of marine life, fatally suffocating them.

Because of this, fish are caught with pieces of plastic that affect us. Polluted concrete cities and glorified landfills are far more accurate descriptions of this tropical paradise.

These problems make it clear why we as a society need to change something. There are many things we can do to limit pollution such as: B. Ensuring our rubbish goes in a bin, picking up rubbish we see on the floor and reducing the use of single-use plastics. If we all make an effort, we will see results soon.

We, a group of high schoolers from all over Oahu, got together and called ourselves the Fathers of the Waters. Our goal is to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water.

Goal #14 focuses heavily on marine life and its conditions. Our main goal is to educate and engage more people about what’s happening in Hawaii, whether tourists or locals.

“We formed this group because we all care about the waters of Hawaii and we know that the water quality in Hawaii has been declining in recent years. Our group decided to come together to try a little bit of a solution by actually doing something ourselves,” explained Isaiah Tanaka, one of our members.

Screenshot from the UN Sustainable Development website
A screenshot from the UN Sustainable Development website.

“We are Hawaii’s future and we have to start doing something for these beaches because if nobody does something, it will be too late for future generations,” emphasizes group leader Charlie Ho.

Humanity is the problem facing the environment and we must come together to find solutions and make a difference before it’s too late.

Our group uses social media to inform and educate people about the dire situation of our island. On April 24th, we showed our passion for this goal by taking a trip to the Heeia Fishpond on the east side of Oahu. For over 800 years, this structure has been a primary food source for native Hawaiians.

For generations, the people of Hawaii have relied on fish as their staple diet. Because the fish was so plentiful, the Hawaiians wanted to create places where the fish could be more easily collected. So they built chain fish ponds.

This important wall formation contains hundreds of thousands of stones arranged along the outer edge to form the walls of the fish pond, with gaps for gates to let in fish. Over time, rocks have fallen into the sea and walls and gates have collapsed, creating a dwindling food source.

By working on the land and using teamwork and collaborating with strangers across America, our group is making strides to restore this landmark to its former state. Some things we did were burning mangroves, moving excess wood, and weeding out other invasive species. When we did this, we made more room for the water and gave native plants more room to grow.

The garbage patch of the Pacific

What can we as a society do to solve this over-pollution problem? While there are many steps to take, one of the most important things to focus on is beach cleaning.

According to rePurpose.com, one of the most successful beach clean-ups of all time was the collaborative beach clean-up in Puri, India, initiated by the Indian District Government and held in September 2019 on International Coastal Cleanup Day.

While not the most collected plastic was recorded, a large turnout was recorded. You invest time and effort to help the environment, and if we all make an effort to go to a few beach cleanups, the world will be a better place in no time.

With 5,000 volunteers, the people of India have conquered a lot. Now imagine that nine times.

With a total of 44,456 volunteers over the years, 808CleanUps is the most well-known organization in Hawaii. It’s a group that helps clean up places all over Hawaii, including many beaches. Volunteers have done hundreds of beach clean-ups to tackle the problem of excess pollution, and in the last seven years they’ve collected over 381 tons of plastic.

A major reason we need these beach cleanups in the first place is the amount of trash that tourists and locals produce, which sadly spills into the ocean. According to dumpsters.com, the US produces 268 million tons of garbage every year. Worse, only 140 million tons of it ends up in landfills, meaning 128 million tons of waste ends up in the oceans every year.

The detrimental effects of what we do can lead to creations like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a 1.6 million square kilometer mass of garbage that has been transported from America’s West Coast, the East Asian coast and the Pacific.

To put it in perspective, that’s an area roughly twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France. The problem, however, is that over 1.4 million people live in the Hawaiian Islands, and many don’t do nearly enough. We need to control the excess pollution in Hawaii and come together to put the time and effort into cleaning up our beaches and ultimately creating a cleaner environment.

If we all make an effort, we will see results soon.

If people from the East Coast to the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands can get together for a day and clean up a fish pond, then so can we. As a group promoting awareness of our cause, we constantly need help to make a greater impact. These issues are exactly why you—yes, you—should contribute.

Whether you are a local or a tourist, our beaches and waters are an important feature for every creature that lives on or visits these islands. Simple, small things like picking up behind yourself, not littering, and using reusable utensils can help create a meaningful future when you follow the guidelines of other organizations.

We, the Fathers of the Water, will continue our commitment and deep concern for the environment for years to come, and we hope you will join us in this effort to save the beaches of Hawaii. As Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said, “Choices have consequences.”

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