Sailors surprised about the amount of plastics on beach

United States Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility’s commanding officer, Capt. Mark Darrah, led a group of volunteers during a beach cleanup effort held in honor of Earth Day 2006.

Volunteers collected 12 garbage bags of debris during the walk along PMRF’s beach, and were given a presentation on the effects of beach litter by base environmental coordinator John Burger.

Debris collected included everything from metal curtain rods to small pieces of plastic and other boat debris which, according to Burger, claims so many seabird lives.

“There is no way to know exactly how many birds are affected by this,” Burger stated, relating how researchers found during a study on one particular Northwest Hawaiian Islands location that more than half of the fledgling birds who died were found to have ingested lethal amounts of plastic debris.

In addition to a section of carpeted plywood, sailor Clint Martin was surprised to find so much plastic debris.

“I found a ton of the little blue plastic pieces,” said Martin.

The event was a collaboration between PMRF and the Kaua‘i chapter of the Navy League. PMRF’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department provided T-shirts and refreshments.

This year’s event was the second beach cleanup held at PMRF in honor of Earth Day.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, and is coordinated around the world by the Earth Day Network.

• Johnny Michael is a petty officer 2nd class assigned to PMRF.

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