ANAHOLA — It’s going to take days and a crew of more than three people to dig out a net that’s implanted in the sand by the river mouth at South ‘Aliomanu Beach.
But on Wednesday, Heather O’Donnell, Steve Chinn and Scott Lever took a stab at it for a couple of hours, and the pieces they cut free will be added to the growing pile of net at Restore Kauai in Kapaa.
“These are some of our staples, our regular guys,” said Barbara Wiedner, executive director of the Kauai Chapter of Surfrider. “Steve, he lives in Princeville and he’s driven all the way to the other side of the island to pick up nets for us before.”
Because of the work of people like these three volunteers, thousands of pounds of marine debris and nets have been scavenged from Kauai’s beaches. In 2016, volunteers gathered 80,000 pounds of debris.
In January 2017, Surfrider Kauai estimates 10,000 pounds of nets and plastic have been added to the pile.
And all of that is going to be shipped to the mainland in two, 40-foot Matson shipping containers that are being filled at Restore Kauai.
On Friday and Saturday the plan is to top off the containers with the pile of net. Everything is being shipped to Adidas, where it’ll be made into thread for clothing.
Surfrider Kauai’s Net Patrol started filling containers with beach debris in 2007. Since then, six containers have been shipped off island.
But that’s not the only thing happening on Saturday. Every year, after the containers are loaded, there’s a party to celebrate the work of the volunteers, and there’s an open invitation to the community.
“We want to invite everyone to come to see the magnitude of what came in on Kauai’s beaches on the last year,” Weidener said.
Java Kai will be providing snacks in the morning and a light lunch will be served after the nets are loaded into the containers. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs through noon.
“The good news is we’ve never been able to ship this much stuff off at once,” Weidner said. “We would like everyone that has participated in any way and even those who haven’t participated yet but will in the future to come and have a small celebration for all our hard work to remove this debris from our reefs and beaches.”