Greenpeace crew hauls out estimated 2.5 tons of marine debris from Kahoolawe
  • Sunday, November 18, 2018
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Greenpeace crew hauls out estimated 2.5 tons of marine debris from Kahoolawe

  • COURTESY GREENPEACE

    Greenpeace partnered with Protecting Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana and Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission to do a beach cleanup and brand audit at Kanapou beach on Kahoolawe.

  • COURTESY GREENPEACE

    This is the second of two days of clean up at Kanapou beach on Kahoolawe. Plastic trash sits on the beach with the Arctic Sunrise waiting in the background.

  • COURTESY GREENPEACE

    Greenpeace’s Lisa Ramsden collects plastic trash at Kanapou beach on Kahoolawe.

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Greenpeace returned to Honolulu on Wednesday afternoon from a beach-cleaning expedition to Kahoolawe aboard the Arctic Sunrise, with a large haul of marine debris from the isle.

Over the weekend, Greenpeace traveled to the isle with the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana and Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission for a beach cleanup and brand audit to help identify the corporations most responsible for single-use plastic pollution in the region. The crew brought back an estimated 2.5 tons of debris, most of which will be donated to Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for repurposing into consumer goods, said Greenpeace, or disposed in accordance with county waste regulations.

“The amount of plastic pollution washing up on the shores of an uninhabited place like Kahoolawe is absolutely staggering,” said Greenpeace oceans campaigner Kate Melges in a news release. “It is a sacred place, free of commercial uses and set aside for Native Hawaiian purposes, yet corporations’ single-use plastic footprints are still found there. It shouldn’t be up to the people of Hawaii to clean up this mess.”

Kao Corporation, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé topped the list of brands found on beverage containers, bottle caps, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo bottles, and household cleaning product packaging cleaned from the isle. Unilever, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson were also found among the marine debris at Kahoolawe.

The majority of plastic found there, however, was in the form of tiny microplastics that could not be easily cleaned up. The crew also found a significant amount of discarded commercial fishing gear, including crates, buoys, fish traps, and nets.

Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise first arrived in Honolulu on Oct. 11, following a journey through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. There, the crew said it found 11 times more microplastics in the middle of the Pacific than near major U.S. cities. Kao and Coca-Cola were also the top brands found there.

While commercial uses are prohibited on Kahoolawe, plastic packaging from corporations still reaches its shores.

“Our sacred island of Kahoolawe has been abused over the years in so many ways,” said Lopaka Aiwohi with the Protect Kaho’olawe Ohana in statement. “The military bombing has stopped, but the island shores are constantly bombarded by ocean plastic pollution. The disastrous effects are taking a great toll on ocean marine life. We must all work together to protect our sacred places and the marine life on this planet we call home.”

As part of its awareness campaign, Greenpeace is demanding the world’s largest corporations take responsibility for plastic pollution by producing less, or finding alternative delivery systems. Greenpeace said some companies, like Aramark and Sodexo, have begun taking steps toward reducing single-use plastics.

The Arctic Sunrise will be in Hawaii through the end of the month, and is open for free, public tours at Pier 12 (79 S. Nimitz Highway), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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