Visitors Clean Up Beach

Community Contributed

By Al Wickheim

I am a visitor from Vancouver Island, Canada who visits your beautiful island every couple of years with my growing family for a couple or three weeks. Each time, we spend an afternoon doing a bit of good for the land that provides us with such enjoyment. Our task of choice is cleaning garbage off the large beach just west of Mo`omomi. Each time, we have gathered about 300 pounds, bagged and dragged to the road access and camp spot and contacted the Nature Conservancy, and although they don’t get back to us, evidently the garbage is picked up. We don’t have vehicle access.

This past week my son and daughter, Brenn and Avan, and myself recruited a family of local folks going fishing and we dragged about 250 pounds of sand soaked towing hawser 200 yards up the beach — a bit more than I was up to alone. The whole family chipped in and afterward, much less hazardous waste was on the beach. I was very grateful for their help and good spirits. I did not get their names but I wanted to say thank you to them and share their efforts.

It got me thinking that despite much signage and desire, there doesn’t seem to be much infrastructure or any obvious program established to facilitate beach cleanup. I propose that rental units, hotels and citizens, bulletin boards and beach signs, websites and newspapers, brochures and business cards all carry the message: “Take a bag to the beach!” We need to encourage locals and visitors alike to do an hour’s work and clean up as much as you can — a bit of beach combing and wildlife protection/environmental stewardship rolled into one.  Maybe local government or service groups could provide bins at strategic collection points (behind gates so ne’er-do-wells don’t dump their garbage there). Almost all the debris is recyclable, and much of it appears to be household rather than fishing related this year. We also saw a lot of burnt melted globules of plastic I surmise to be from the Japan tsunami.

No, it’s not my garbage, and likely not yours either, but the fact of it is, it is there and a concerted, positive action program could go a long way to cleaning up and keeping clean your beautiful Molokai shoreline even more so. And with mostly volunteer efforts, it could be accomplished affordably.  And if you have access to said beach with your truck, would you mind picking up the waste we collected? Thank you.

If you would like to contact me to discuss ideas which might be implemented, I can be reached at info@wilderquestadventures.com.


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