An Earth Day cleanup with Malama Na ‘Apapa

KOLOA –  A record number of volunteers cleared debris from the water and land along Koloa Landing as part of Malama Na ‘Apapa’s annual Earth Day in-water and shoreline cleanup on Saturday. Koloa Landing is a dive site that is also home to  the Dragon eel, Spotted eagle ray, Harlequin shrimp, Yellow tail coris (Soli), turtles, frog fish, the Spanish dancer and other marine life forms, the nonprofit organization states in a news release.

During the heavy rains in March, the floodgates for Waita Reservoir were opened, washing debris into the ocean. Because the river empties into the ocean at Koloa Landing, it was heavily impacted by debris from this runoff, and diving became impossible for several weeks.

A record number of volunteers worked during this year’s one-day cleanup, including 20 certified scuba divers who removed man -made debris and 10 non-divers who cleaned up the boat ramp and shoreline, the organization reported.

Items collected included a basketball, golf tee, shoe, smoke detector, golf balls, car tires, plastic food wrappers, an aluminum can with a baby tako inside and a piece of PVC pipe with a Brittle Starfish inside.

This cleanup was sponsored by Kaua‘i Down Under, Fathom Five Divers, Sea Sport Diver, Aloha Kai Divers, Puni Nani Pool and Spa Inc., and Project Aware. The companies donated equipment and prizes.

Malama Na ‘Apapa Director Scott Bacon on Sunday issued a statement thanking sponsors and volunteers for a “safe, fun and productive” cleanup.

“It is true that manyhands make light work, and with a record number of 30 certified divers and non-diving volunteers cleaning up the reef and shoreline we noticed a major improvement of the reef within five hours of our cleanup,” Bacon said.

Josh Helmin, owner of Kauai Down Under, provided the use of complimentary scuba gear for certified divers to assist in the clean up. “ I enjoy assisting (Malama Na ‘Apapa) whenever I can, because it is a great way to give back to the sea,” Helmin said.

“Its great to have collaboration among all of the dive shops and divers to put forth this great effort to help restore the natural beauty of Koloa Landing,” said Marvin Otsuji, owner of Seasport Divers.

The group’s next in-water and shoreline cleanup is scheduled on June 8, World Oceans Day. For more information, visit ww.kauaicoral.com or email scottbacon@kauaicoral.com.

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