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Marine biologist, 29, finishes 180-mile hike around Maui coast to raise awareness about plastic debris

  • PHOTO COURTESY LOVE THE SEA
                                Britt Daniels with some of the plastic ocean debris she collected during her two-week hike around Maui’s coastline.

    PHOTO COURTESY LOVE THE SEA

    Britt Daniels with some of the plastic ocean debris she collected during her two-week hike around Maui’s coastline.

  • COURTESY LOVE THE SEA
                                Britt Daniels was joined by others Saturday on the last day of her two-week hike around Maui’s coastline to raise awareness against ocean plastics and raise funds for Love The Sea’s Hard to Reach beach cleanups.

    COURTESY LOVE THE SEA

    Britt Daniels was joined by others Saturday on the last day of her two-week hike around Maui’s coastline to raise awareness against ocean plastics and raise funds for Love The Sea’s Hard to Reach beach cleanups.

A 29-year-old marine biologist today finished a 15-day hike around Maui’s coast to raise awareness about ocean plastic — and her campaign led to the removal of over 3,000 pounds of plastic debris from Maui’s shores and roads.

Britt Daniels, who is employed at the catamaran tour company Sail Maui and is an intern at the environmental nonprofit Love The Sea, began her 180-mile hike around the island in Mala, where she lives. She finished the trip in Lahaina this morning.

About 50 supporters joined Daniels during the last mile or so of her hike and held signs to support her cause.

Daniels’ goal was to raise awareness against ocean plastics as well as raise funds for Love The Sea’s Hard to Reach beach cleanups. Love The Sea’s goal is to “clean every oceanfront mile from the Hawaiian Islands,” according to its website, and it is attempting to raise $60,000 to cover its costs for four cleanups in 2021. It has raised $3,300 so far.

Love The Sea crews in jet skis and trucks picked up 3,360 pounds of plastic debris along Daniels’ hike, and cleaned areas such as Lahaina, Kahakuloa, Wailuku, Haiku, Hana and Kihei.

“This collaboration with Love The Sea and opportunity to create awareness about our plastic problem has meant everything to me, and I hope it inspires others,” Daniels said in a statement. “During this pandemic, it’s easy to fall into sadness, but there’s also a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of our ability to create change.”

The crews documented the amount of debris along Maui’s coastline during the two-week campaign and estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of plastic debris and ghost nets remain.

Donations for the Hard to Reach cleanups can be made on the Love The Sea website, at lovethesea.org. The nonprofit hopes to clean up 100,000 pounds of plastic debris over the next year.

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