KAPAA — Surfrider Kauai had their last recycling party at Restore Kauai on Saturday.
The organization has been stashing marine debris garnered from Kauai’s beaches at Restore Kauai for five years, but changes to the site have Surfrider looking elsewhere for storage.
“A big mahalo to Restore Kauai for letting us store Surfrider’s marine debris at their site,” said Barbara Wiedner, who helps head net patrol and beach cleanups.
She said it’s important for people to remember not to dump marine debris, or other items where Surfrider used to store their nets and plastic — something that could be natural to do since the organization has been storing debris there for so long.
In fact, Saturday’s cleanup effort was to wipe away traces of debris, so Surfrider could return use of the land back to Restore Kauai in good condition.
“Everything needed to be removed from the Restore Kauai lot where we have been for the past five years,” said Carl Berg, science adviser for Kauai’s Surfrider chapter. “No new marine debris will be accepted there. Please do not drop it off.”
Since Jan. 1, Surfrider Kauai’s volunteers have collected and weighed 91,865 pounds of marine debris, averaging at about 10,000 pounds a month.
Three, 40-foot containers and one 20-foot container filled with debris were shipped off-island since January, along with a smaller Young Brothers container, filled with 3,000 pounds of plastics.
But, recycling efforts are suspended until the organization can secure a new recycling storage area.
“When the 40-foot container was packed (on Saturday), remaining nets were taken to a temporary storage site, awaiting finding a new recycling site,” Berg said.
More than a dozen pickup truck loads of plastic marine debris that couldn’t fit into the container were taken to the county transfer station, according to Surfrider.
“We are extremely Grateful for the Ka Ipu Aina program of Matson for arranging for all of the shipping of the material to be recycled at H-Power on Oahu,” Berg said. “It is only through the efforts of numerous volunteers cleaning the beaches that we have been able to remove so much harmful debris from the shoreline.”
Robert Zelkovsky, volunteer for Surfrider Kauai, said he can’t imagine what the island’s beaches would look like if not for the help of the organization’s cleanup efforts.
“Imagine how unsafe the swimming would be,” he said. “Imagine the dangers posed to marine life. Imagine how difficult the selling of Kauai as a visitor destination would be. The volunteers who clean beaches rock.”