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Shocking Pictures from Coastal Cleanup Day
Posted By Beth Terry On September 22, 2013 @ 1:49 pm In Environmental,Events,Garbage,Litter,Ocean Plastic Pollution | 15 Comments
I’ve seen this picture of Kamilo Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii a million times in the past six years. It’s shocking. But not as shocking as seeing a plastic-covered beach up close live and in person like I did yesterday during Kokua Hawai’i Foundation’s  Coastal Cleanup Day event at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Oahu.
When I first entered the area, I didn’t see much…
Then I looked down and started noticing microplastic particles in the sand…
And then more microplastic. I started to become a little obsessed with it…
Until I looked up finally and was astounded to see this…
There were just a few new items of trash mixed in with this ancient debris, possibly left by a careless visitor to the preserve.
Most of this plastic had been out at sea a long time before washing up on this beach. It came from far away and has been slowly breaking down into fragments by wind, waves, sun. Some of it partially eaten by sharks. But it never actually goes away.
It was too much to comprehend, so I went back to concentrating on the little tiny pieces.
And even tinier pieces…
I worked with one of the kids to collect a sample to bring home.
Some people go to Hawaii and bring back shells. Here is my souvenir.
I’m grateful for the work of the Kokua Hawai’i Foundation, which was founded by musician Jack Johnson and his wife Kim to support environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii, including work on reducing plastic waste and plastic consumption.
Friday night, it was my privilege to give a talk during Kokua’s Coastal Cleanup Kick Off Event… In the same school my mom taught in in 1964 before I was born!
She loved this island and so do I. I hope I can continue to help reduce the damage from plastic pollution.
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