Hawaii is known for it’s beautiful atmosphere with crystal blue oceans and empowering green mountains that I am fortunate to call my home. But what is in our oceans? This past weekend on Earth Day, we got to take part in a huge annual beach clean up to celebrate earth. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, but it was heartbreaking to see the amount of plastic there was along the beach.

The Friday before Earth Day, our high school hosted Earth Fest, which was entirely ran by students. We had set up several different booths to bring awareness to environmental issues all across the world. We had a special booth just for Hawaii, where my friends and I shared the issues of plastic waste and had students sign petitions to end single-use plastic. The picture shown above is our micro plastic board, where we glued several pieces of micro plastics that we’ve collected from previous beach clean ups to create art.

Students jammed out listening to their classmates perform local songs with their band, learn about why and how we can take care of our earth, and enjoyed some locally grown papaya ube frozen yogurt! (So good)

Wheeling a tire across the beach…how did that even get there?

This is only a portion of the trash collected, on only a portion of the beach. We collected all of this within 20 feet around us. It is not difficult to be plastic free, you can start by purchasing a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles! Refuse straws when you go to restaurants! Bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store! Anything helps.

We found part of a fence and a large fishing net rolling in the sand. There are a lot of times where there are sea creatures caught in these nets, still alive, just trapped. We’ve rescued several deep water crabs, starfish, and coral. These nets are like tumbleweeds and will pick up anything that is in its way.

Its crazy how much trash you can pick up within a couple hours and a dozen people. This is unfortunately not even close to how much there actually was on the beach. It is important that people are aware of what we do in our everyday lives affect our earth, our home. If not, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Would you want to have a piece of a plastic bucket for dinner? BE THE CHANGE.