Maui News

Pesticide band detection study on leeward Maui

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Pesticide band detection. PC: Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

A study is now underway using absorbent bands to detect organic pollutants at 18 sites around West and South Maui. The bands used in the study can absorb chemicals over a period of time, as opposed to traditional sampling methods that offer information from a limited snapshot in time.

The Maui Nui Marine Resource Council reports that the study will help inform MNMRC’s reef-friendly landscaping initiatives.

“Current use pesticides are chemicals that have the potential to adversely affect the marine environment of Maui, making our nearshore coral reefs particularly vulnerable,” according to the MNMRC. “Water chemistry at a site can change with tides, currents, and rain. This means that grab samples don’t typically represent average conditions at a site and may miss catching something like the presence of a pollutant at a site.”


The current study is in place for 28 days.  Studies by both USGS and NOAA-National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have shown these silicone band samplers can be used to detect the presence of pesticides in seawater.

The study is using existing volunteer scientist networks to help NOAA, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources-Division of Aquatic Resources, and local NGOs to place and retrieve the bands to get some initial insight into whether pesticides are a concern in Maui’s nearshore waters. 

The public is asked that if they observe one of these bands, that they leave them alone and refrain from touching or removing them. If you happen to find one floating or have questions about the project, contact Russell at DLNR-DAR or Tova at 808-214-4239.


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