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Inaugural beach cleanup nets 1,500 pounds of junk

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LIHUE » A haul of more than 1,500 pounds of marine debris collected on Kauai included one 600-pound specimen of litter.

Volunteers at Hanamaulu Beach on Saturday lifted off a rusty, dented, globular "fish aggregating device" that had floated in, The Garden Island reported.

The device, which is used to attract fish, washed up on the rocks at the north end of Hanamaulu Bay. Robert Zelkovsky, president of the Kauai Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, said in an announcement the 5-foot diameter object likely originated from a location 2 miles off the coast.

"It’s not Japanese," he said.

The float was rolled off the rocks and towed to the beach with assistance from the Boy Scouts Sea Scout ship "Decisive" out of Nawiliwili Harbor.

Volunteers rolled the float up the beach to a parking lot. Akamai Towing lifted the device into a truck belonging to Don Heacock of the Department of Land and Natural Resources and it was taken to the Puhi Metal Recycling Facility.

"It was quite a scene," Zelkovsky said.

Volunteers with Surfrider, Sierra Club, Sea Scout and DLNR removed 491 pounds of nets and ropes from the bay.

The items were taken to Restore Kauai for reuse.

About 435 pounds of plastic floats, tires, fish trap parts, bottles and other debris was taken to the Lihue transfer station. Matson and Schnitzer Steel will ship material not being reused to the H-POWER facility in Hono­lulu and it will be kept out of the landfill.

The cleanup Saturday was the first Surfrider event supported by a $25,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the DLNR.

The grant is administered by the state Department of Health.

Starbucks, Papaya’s Natural Foods, The Home Depot and Blair Estate Organic Coffee Farm donated refreshments or cleanup gear.

Surfrider will clean selected beaches on the fourth Saturday of every month in anticipation of marine debris generated by the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

The group will check debris for radioactivity. No elevated readings have been found.

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