Keeping Coasts Sustainable through Cleanups in Hawaii

Volunteer clean the beach in Hawaii.
SCH Volunteers in Hawaii. Credit: SCH

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the NOAA Marine Debris Program work together to Inspire Coastal Stewardship through Coastal Cleanups and Outreach Education.

Project Dates: June 2014 - May 2016

What’s the project?

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH) strategically focuses on coastal stewardship through large-scale beach cleanups preceded by educational programs in schools, businesses, government, and community groups. Through their cleanups, they are able to actively show local communities the increasing marine debris problems on their beaches, which engages individuals and promotes a change in how people use and dispose of their trash.

SCH implements their education programs and promotes upcoming cleanups in adjacent communities, following up with a cleanup event approximately one week later. In addition to their cleanup efforts, any marine debris from the 2011 Japan tsunami is recorded and updated to their database. SCH also collects and shares marine debris data with the public by using NOAA's shoreline monitoring protocols and sorting and weighing debris. Involving volunteers in this process helps them see the impact their daily lives have on their environment, which returns back to their key goal of changing behaviors to prevent marine debris from appearing on beautiful Hawaiian coastlines.

Who is involved?

With funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, SCH creates events where people can actively engage in cleaning their beaches while learning more about the impacts of debris. Numerous volunteers help organize cleanup and engage the community to take action at their local beaches, in addition to schools, businesses, government, and local groups partners.

What is something unique about the project?

SCH is currently the only large-scale beach cleaning organization in Hawaii involving 100-1,000 volunteers. SCH uses grassroots techniques and has hosted the largest coastal cleanup in Hawaii's history with 1,076 volunteers on Earth Day in 2013. In three years, they have had 5,869 volunteers remove 40,934 pounds of debris from Hawaii's coastlines.