KAILUA-KONA — Events are scheduled around the world today in celebration of World Oceans Day, and that includes some local opportunities for people on the island to show some love to the waters all around them.
Among those is a cleanup focused on the South Kohala coast that also offers an opportunity to connect with and learn about the agencies and organizations dedicated to preserving the region’s marine resources.
The event, located at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, is free, although non-Hawaii residents will have to pay a $5 parking fee.
“Plastic pollution is an issue on the Big Island,” said Dena Sedar, interpretive program specialist for Hawaii State Parks in a press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “While a majority of the marine debris that ends up on the coastline comes from other places, single-use plastic water bottles and plastic straws can end up as trash on beaches and coastline. By reducing the amount of single-use plastic we all use, we can help make our ocean and shorelines safer for marine species.”
Today’s event kicks off with a cleanup starting at 7:30 a.m. at Hapuna Beach, where volunteers must first check in and sign waivers at the park’s south pavilion.
Once volunteers sign in, they’re free to pick a site anywhere between Anaehoomalu Bay and Kawaihae Harbor to clean up before meeting back at the park for a potluck.
Cynthia Ho of Keep Puako Beautiful said volunteers are welcome to check in for the cleanup until about 11:30 a.m.
Cleanup supplies, water and snacks are provided, Ho said, although volunteers should bring what they’ll need for their own personal comfort and safety, such as comfortable shoes, a hat, reef-safe sunscreen and a water bottle.
Attendees are also encouraged to bring a dish to share at the potluck.
But the opportunity to help the cause doesn’t stop with the cleanup.
Hawaii County will be hosting a recycling station for beachgoers to learn about recycling things they bring to the park, and there will also be a hydration station for visitors to refill their water bottles. On hand too will be 19 informational booths for attendees to learn about efforts to protect and restore the ocean, with prizes for children who visit more than six booths.
Participating organizations include the National Park Service, Coral Reef Alliance and the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuaries. The Hawaii Wildlife Fund will also be hosting a marine debris prevention activity station at 10 a.m., where attendees can take part in fun activities and games to learn how to prevent marine debris.
Ho said it’s an excellent opportunity for those interested to find even more ways they can get involved throughout the year.
“These folks coming are looking for volunteers for their program,” she said.
The event is likely to wrap up by 2 p.m.
The South Kohala cleanup isn’t the only event scheduled on the island.
The Mokupapapa Discovery Center on Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo is inviting people to come “be an ocean superhero” today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite ocean superhero for the event, which will feature prizes for the best costumes as well as fun activities.
An event page on the World Oceans Day website said there will also be a screening of the film “Moananuiakea,” which highlights the world-wide voyage of Hokulea.
A beach cleanup is also scheduled to take place from noon to 2 p.m. at Kealoha Beach Park in Hilo.
That event is hosted by Unilever beauty/lifestyle brands Love Beauty and Planet and Love Home and Planet in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation.