Volunteers clean up fishing nets, beach trash at Kealia

KAPA‘A — The Rotary Club of Kapa‘a along with a handful of local Kapa‘a residents spent Saturday morning removing ocean debris from the Kealia Beach area.

The Rotary Community Work Project for the event — named Get the Drift and Bag It — is tied to the dates of the International Coastal Cleanup, a news release states. As Kaua‘i has more white sandy beaches than all the other islands in the state, the need to constantly clean the shoreline, one of its most cherished natural assets, is an almost endless task.

Twenty-five people, including some students from Island School, picked up more than 35 bags of trash and a whole carload of abandoned fishing nets in their small effort to clean up one of the island’s many beaches.

The volunteers also filled out forms to submit to the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup group in Washington, D.C.

This past week, Mayor Carvalho organized a “Keep Kaua‘i Beautiful” meeting which was an exploratory meeting about ways to continue to protect our environment and keep the island beautiful, the release states. Attendees from groups such as Apollo Kaua‘i, the Department of Transportation, Zero Waste Kaua‘i, Goodfellow Brothers and a diverse contingent of concerned Kaua‘i residents discussed issues such as removal of ocean debris.

“I learned about Get the Drift and Bag It from John Burger who is organizing cleanup events like this at the beach at PMRF while attending the Mayor’s meeting,” said Ron Margolis, community service chair of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a. “Our club jumped right on the bandwagon as we are always looking for projects especially in the Kapa‘a community!”

On Maui, last year’s “Get the Drift and Bag it” event brought together more than 1,000 volunteers who collected 13,200 pounds of litter and marine debris, 1,800 plastic bags, 2,150 recyclable beverage containers and 7,600 cigarette butts.

There were many voices at the Keep Kaua‘i Beautiful meeting that expressed concerns and outrage at how much debris washes ashore and what can be done to limit and eliminate that, the release states. Over the past decade, more than 740 tons of marine debris has been cleared from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The ocean currents in the Pacific bring tons of debris like nets, fishing line and rope to the marine monument.


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