Keeping Coasts Sustainable through Cleanups in Hawaii

Volunteer clean the beach in Hawaii.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the NOAA Marine Debris Program worked 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 focused on coastal stewardship through large-scale beach cleanups preceded by educational programs in schools, businesses, government, and community groups. Through their cleanups, they were 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 implemented their education programs and promoted 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 was recorded and updated to their database. SCH also collected and shared marine debris data with the public by using NOAA's shoreline monitoring protocols and sorted and weighed debris. Involving volunteers in this process helped 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 created events where people can actively engage in cleaning their beaches while learning more about the impacts of debris. Numerous volunteers helped organize cleanup and engaged 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 used 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.