Inside Kamilo Beach – A Plastic Beach Hawaii
Mother Nature is sending a message to the whole world through Kamilo Beach in Hawaii. The once-white sand is now buried by a foot of trash, and the tide pools in the volcanic rock are full of old fishing nets.
Currents that turn
When the first Hawaiians arrived, they set up their homes on the Big Island and got what they needed by hunting and gathering. Kamilo Beach was one of the many things they could use. “Kamilo” means “currents that twist.”
The first Hawaiians came to Kamilo to get the big driftwood logs that washed up on the shore. Strong currents pushed the logs onto the beach, so they never went home empty-handed and always had enough logs to make canoes. They also came here to find the bodies of people who had died at sea. They knew that the movement of the ocean brought the bodies to Kamilo.
Today, the ocean vortex still spins and twists, but it’s not just bringing up driftwood.
What used to draw travelers who wanted to build strong canoes now draws environmentalists and scientists from all over the world. The amount of trash that washes up on Kamilo has almost completely covered up the beach, which used to be clean.
In fact, there is now more plastic in the area than there is sand. Things on the beach and in tide pools show where the trash came from.
Some of them are everyday items, which shows that we as a whole are still not getting rid of our plastic in the right way. But it’s clear that most of them come from fishing boats. Nets and lines that have been left behind are washing up in Kamilo’s tide pools, which is very bad for the marine life in the area.
This is not just trash from around here. There have been shampoo bottles and drink bottles with labels in languages like Russian and Japanese. This shows that the trash is coming from other parts of the Pacific. And because it’s hard to see plastic trash in open water (it usually floats just below the surface), Kamilo Beach is a real way to see how people’s consumption is hurting the environment.
The Hawaii Wildlife Fund picks up about 20 tons of trash from Kamilo Beach every year. The cleanups began in 2003 and are still going on.
Because Kamilo is in the middle of nowhere and in a rural area, it takes a bit of work to get there, so more volunteers than tourists go there. The HWF welcomes them all year long, and it’s a great way for anyone going to Hawaii to give back to the community.
At Kamilo, time is of the essence. Most animals are eating microplastics and plastic pellets, and there is a chance that the plastic could stay in the ocean forever. Tiny pieces of trash are sticking together with shells and coral to make plastic stones that can sink to the ocean floor and never be found again.
Even if you don’t have time to help out with one of HWF’s volunteer projects, you can still make a difference by doing small things every day. Small pieces of trash that you find lying around are already a great way to help the environment as long as they don’t look dangerous.
Reusing plastics is another small but important thing to do. We still have a long way to go, but if we all take these small steps, it will get us a long way.
Topic: Inside Kamilo Beach – A Plastic Beach Hawaii
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By: Travel Pixy