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Keeping a Clean Coastline

Photo Courtesy of Diamond Ignacio

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Dozens of residents picked up thousands of pounds of debris from Molokai’s northern coastline last Saturday during the annual Mo`omomi Cleanup. In its fourth year, the effort is spearheaded by nonprofit Sustainable Coastlines and brings volunteers of all ages to malama the area and collect damaging ocean pollutants.

“It was good! There were a lot of people who came out, and we picked up a lot of trash that was visible from the east side of the pavilion,” said volunteer Kamele Reyes. “We picked up cargo nets, toothbrushes, clothing price tags, oyster spacers, micro plastics, and just anything you can think of.”

Sustainable Coastlines organizes cleanups around the state, and came to Molokai the previous week to do educational outreach in the schools about marine debris and plastic pollution. Executive Director Kahi Pacarro said there has been an influx of ocean debris in the Pacific region, and much of the trash washing ashore has been floating in the ocean for a decade. The rubbish at Mo`omomi is sent to Oahu, where it is sorted and either recycled or incinerated.

Kualapu`u School sixth grade teacher Diamond Ignacio had her students write letters about why the cleanup effort is important. Below are two of the letters.
Dear Molokai Residents,

I don’t like pollution because it makes our beaches look ugly. We can clean our beaches every year! If you clean rubbish everyday, you can make a change. Little things make a big change.

Animals and sea life die because of rubbish and plastic, because they think it is food. But we can change that by cleaning our beaches and oceans. If we don’t clean our beaches, people won’t come to our beaches anymore. But we can change that by coming to the beaches and cleaning up. We can clean not just Molokai, but beaches everywhere.
It is hard to clean the beach by ourselves, we need lots and lots of people to help us make this world a better place. So help us out!

Sincerely,
Lawai`a Kaauwai
Dear Molokai Residents,

Do you think our `aina is being polluted? How can we keep our island green? How can we keep Hina happy? Would you like to help? Would you like our sacred lands clean and fresh?

My name is Chalyce Lyann Delos-Reyes-Tracy, and I want to help to make a difference on Molokai. I want you to help me and my classmates to make a difference. Help us by going out to clean our beaches, help pick up trash, help to keep our aina clean from plastics. Don’t leave your trash, recycle!
We hope that you will take part in making a difference, make Molokai proud. I hope you help.

From a student at Kualapu`u School,
Chalyce Delos-Reyes-Tracy

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