Watching a Long-Time U.S. Paradise Become a Trash Heap


Watching a Long-Time U.S. Paradise Become a Trash Heap

by Amy Lignor


When someone thinks of the word “Hawaii,” the last thing one envisions in their mind is a place of ruin. Hawaii has always been looked upon as a vacation paradise; a place you choose to travel when you need to head away from the job and the winter weather to enjoy fun in the sun. But Hawaii has gotten into some serious trouble as of late. No longer does this state fall under the American “amber waves of grain” mantra. Not even close. In fact, the waves found in the Hawaiian archipelago are basically…full of trash.

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Marine debris on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii


Vast amounts of plain old garbage have been washing up on shore, littering Hawaii’s once extremely clean and pristine beaches. It is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that has been working night and day in an attempt to keep critical parts of the ocean clear of this marine debris, removing approximately fifty-seven tons of it from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. But despite all the agency’s good and hard work, the state sees no end in sight. They are, on a daily basis, inundated with trash – the largest percentage of it being the plastic variety.


This is not “new” news. Back in 2011, when the devastating tsunami hit Japan, agency’s assumed that debris would be washed up on Hawaii’s islands as part of the aftermath. Oddly enough, however, after a survey done (August-November, 2015) between Hawaii’s Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) and North Pacific Marine Science Organization, it was found that the actual criminal element behind what looks to be waves of endless trash is not Mother Nature. The tsunami was not responsible for the huge amount of plastic items appearing.


DLNR’s Chairwoman, Suzanne Case, stated only a couple of days ago that: “Most of what was mapped is common, everyday items that someone haphazardly tossed onto the ground or directly into the water.”


In other words, the trash being seen is coming into Hawaii’s archipelago from anywhere and everywhere. Because of the state’s position, the current is carrying massive amounts of waste directly to Hawaii’s coast. Case went on to say that the items found are getting caught up in ocean currents, with much of the garbage making land, mostly on north and east facing shores.

End result? What was once a state recognized globally for its beautiful beaches is no longer being seen that way.


The environment is threatened heavily. Some of the items of debris are extremely large, including; fishing gear, tires, and bits of foam – even pieces of completely abandoned water/fishing vessels. This increased number of plastic landing on Hawaii’s shoreline is affecting the wildlife in horrific ways. Evidence has been found showing that marine life, as well as the seabirds have been ingesting bits of trash, which has become detrimental to their health.


The conclusion is this: the trash is threatening to destroy many habitats in and around Hawaii that are critical to the environment. Coral reefs that play home to some extremely unique species are at risk. Here is where the world’s biggest sponge was recently discovered by scientists off Hawaii’s coast; a creature being put in a dangerous environmental situation because of the increased waste rolling around in the ocean…sent there by a careless world and nothing more.


People should know that marine debris is not only a huge threat to wildlife; it can also bring negative effects to the health of humans. Scientists still cannot say for a fact what happens to the human body that eats a fish that ingested plastic particles in the ocean, and it’s highly difficult to see when it will get worse. The trash is such a problem in U.S. waterways that, at last report, more than eight trillion microbeads of plastic have flooded streams, rivers and lakes.


President Obama is aware of the issue, and signed a bipartisan bill back in December stopping sales and distribution of all products containing these microbeads being consumed by marine life. Even with that done, however, these waves of (absolutely preventable) trash continue to plague a one-time/long-time paradise.


Source:  Baret News

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