Maui Divers Conduct Underwater Cleanup
After a recent severe storm struck the shores of Maui, trash and debris littered the reef system along the Wailea Beach coastline.
During her first dive after the harsh weather in February, Island Scuba & Surf School Operations Manager Madalyn Groulx said she was devastated to see that part of the reef been destroyed by big boulders during the storm, and there was “tons of trash everywhere.”
“After discovering this, I decided to organize a small reef clean up to remove all the debris,” said Groulx.
Seven volunteers joined forces on Feb. 23, 2019, to clean up the once-pristine reef system.
“With our scuba gear and mesh bags, we collected all the trash we could find in a 250-square-foot area, said Groulx. “We worked together as a team to haul out the large pieces of debris using lift bags and a kayak and collected over 200 pounds of trash.”
They hauled the trash 100 yards out of the water to a cart on the beach and then disposed of it.
Debris included five chaise lounge beach chairs, an 85-pound plastic umbrella holder, plastic and metal piping, PVC piping, plastic fragments, over 100 Band-Aids and hair ties, plastic beach toys, sunglasses and snorkeling gear.
The debris survey has been documented and submitted to the PADI ocean conservation program, Project Aware, and entered into a global database for further research.
Island Scuba & Surf School, in operation for over 30 years, has partnered with PADI ocean conservation program Project Aware and the Adopt A Reef program. The school organizes monthly reef cleanups around the island and educates hotel guests and divers about how to minimize impacts on the reef, including using reef-safe sunscreen and reusable drinking containers.
“It only took seven determined people to make a huge impact on our local reef,” said Groulx.”Over 100 people per day snorkel, kayak, stand up paddle board and scuba dive this reef. We wanted to not only help the local ecology and wildlife, but also make it a more enjoyable and safe experience for others.”
For more information on how to get involved, contact reef cleanup organizer Groulx at (808) 446-4135.
The PADI dive center is located at the Wailea Beach Resort at 3700 Wailea Alanui Drive in Wailea.