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Marine Debris a Growing
Concern, Piles Found at Waiehu

Posted 10:41 AM HST, April 12, 2012

Marine Debris at Waiehu on Maui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Crews from the Community Work Day Program on Maui plan to assess reports of large tangled piles of netting and debris reported along the shoreline of the Waiehu Golf Course.

Maui resident Mike Moran said he learned of the situation over a month ago on March 6, when a female golfer called in to his televised talk show on Akaku to ask what could be done.

The complainant said that both the county and state DLNR were advised of the situation and the logical danger that a storm source or larger wave break could have, by potentially pulling the mess into the ocean.

Marine Debris at Waiehu on Maui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Concerns were also raised about the potential to exacerbate what Moran described as “an already critical problem” of marine life becoming trapped.

The piles of netting and ropes are located along the rocky shoreline of the Waiehu Golf Course, north of the 6th hole.

State officials say a land agent from the Department of Land and Natural Resources was sent out to assess the area and found one pile sitting under some trees, half buried in the sand.

Removing piles of debris can be as easy as cutting apart light weight cargo netting often seen in small jobs; or as difficult as utilizing trucks and machinery to haul away big piles that are sand heavy, hard to pull, and not easily cut by hand.

Marine Debris at Waiehu on Maui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

State officials said, “usually debris removal is the responsibility of the landowner, but each case has its own specifics.”

DLNR Information Specialist Deborah Ward responded to an email inquiry saying, “hopefully the County will be able to address the pile of nets since they have direct access via their golf course.”

County Environmental Coordinator, Rob Parsons, said the county is working in coordination with the Community Work Day program, which has the ability to respond to such incidents with more immediacy.

“You get into situation with whether it’s state or county jurisdiction since the high wash of the waves delineates the shoreline,” said Parsons who agreed that situations such as these are handled on a case by case basis.

Parsons noted that the area is along Maui’s northeast facing shoreline, which tends to get the brunt of the island’s marine debris.

Smaller remnants of netting are found to the east of the bigger piles. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Community Work Day’s Matt Lane agreed that the area between the ropes challenge course in Waiehu to the Big Lefts surf spot near Kahului Harbor tends to have larger amounts of debris reports that other parts of the island.  Debris often gets reported on the north side of Hana Bay in East Maui as well.

Parson’s, who is also the county point person for the Japan Tsunami marine debris discussion, said he does not believe the netting is associated with the Japan debris field.  He is planning ahead, though, to make sure cleanup crews are in place should any of that debris surface in the islands.

“We haven’t seen an increase yet, but even if it’s twice as much it would be concerning,” said Lane.

“Regardless of what was swept into the sea , which may or may not reach our shores, marine debris is an everyday problem.  The best tool for teaching is beach cleanups,” said Parsons.

He said two such cleanups are planned in the coming weeks in the general area, including: a Surfrider cleanup at Kahului Harbor on April 21; and a private cleanup led by Paukulalo resident Duke Sevilla, also on April 21.

Meantime, Lane said an assessment will be made by the Community Work Day program by the beginning of next week.

“For sure by beginning of next week we will identify what needs to happen, and hopefully by end of next week should have the piles removed or at least a plan in place if its a larger job,” said Lane.

On another note, Lane was given a unique last minute invitation through the County of Maui to sail as a representative on a voyage through the Gyre to Japan.  The voyage will educate participants and raise awareness of the issues associated with Tsunami debris.

Lane said the voyage will provide “factual, correct, and informing data that will help the County of Maui on a grassroots level.”

Lane is trying to raise $3,000 by this Friday for a commitment deposit to secure his spot.

“We really need some local organizations that represent clean ups like CWD on this trip,” said Lane.

“It would be invaluable for me to come back and present this experience/information to the community,” he said.

More information on the voyage and how the public can help is available at the following direct link: http://www.indiegogo.com/forMaui.

HEADLINE NEWS Weekly Newsletter
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  • Rainman

    State officials said, “usually debris removal is the responsibility of the landowner, but each case has its own specifics.”

    Typical politician tactic standing and pointing fingers.  A basic knowledge of Hawaii real estate law will tell you that no one can own the beach below the high tide line.  This is State land and the State should take responsiblity for the clean up. 

    • Misshmacon

      Fiesta up the golfer called Teri Lawrence from the TV show On The UPside with Teri, who immediately got on the phone to DLNR, and the Mayors office. Also called the golf course. This was a definite half state half county problem.

  • Wakeup

    The shore lines of North east  maui and the northern hawaiian islands will see debri from the tsunami of japan the state agencies will play the game of who should clean it up. Hears a suggest, you can use the prisoners to help clean up no cost to anyone because aren’t we paying the taxes on the prison that they are enjoying for free. One more suggestion how about, haveing the asian countries clean up there mess because thats their nets and rubbish out there. Just a word of thought because the people of hawaii will suffer for some one elses mistakes. DON’T BE RUINEING MY BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS!  

  • What a dissappointment!

    Wakeup -> You should be ashamed of yourself!  Japan is suffering enough and reality check = majority of Hawaiian citizens and Native Hawaiians are mixed with asian ancestry.  Did you forget, Hawaii is a mixed pot of culture and nationalities dated back to the immigration days? Also, you state Hawaii will suffer for unexpected events and weather phenomena…uh-duh! The whole world does!  You should’nt be so selfish.  One day, Hawaii will suffer and it’s selfish people like you and selfish statements such as this that will cause Hawaii to suffer with no aid. 

    Be thankful a Tsunami didn’t hit Hawaii…imagine all the rubbish and trash you’ll be obligated to funnel through just to move an inch and not to mention all the bodies that will be floating around the streets.  You should feel fortunate, get off your butt and clean up the ocean yourself.  I’ll bet you swim in the ocean from time to time?  It’s just as much your responsibility than anyone else’s to clean up the mess. 

    In reality, all of you should stop pointing fingers at who should clean it up… YOU (yourself) should be the one to clean it up. Yeah…YOU,  you who live in Hawaii.  You who take and take and take what Hawaii has to offer and NEVER give back.  We military members are serving Hawaii and gave our lives to protect Hawaii and the USA;  many Hawaiians who would give anything to be there in Hawaii to clean up our oceans, OUR Hawaii.  But some are deployed around the world hoping that our Ohana physically there in Hawaii will take the responsibility to take care of our islands.  Some of us are even in Japan helping them with their suffering.  They suffer from chemical poisoning, missing family  members, finding shelter, and you all are there fussing about who’s going to pick up rubbish.  And let’s not forget, some of our Hawaii Ohana suffered from that tsunami in Japan.  Family  members, military members, etc.

    I’m stationed halfway around the world and I read THIS in the news…how pitiful.  and I worry for the sake of Hawaii herself (not the people) in regards to how long she will last prior to the human race destroying all she has given, has provided, and has to offer.  One day, we will all pay for her suffering, and the only person to blame will be yourself.

    Oh and hey:  Maybe the people living in Hawaii can start taking responsibility and pay the price for living in paradise!

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