World Oceans Day is an annual celebration of the ocean, its importance to our lives, and how each of us can protect it, no matter where we live. Held on June 08, this year’s theme was ‘Together We Can’, encouraging people from around the world to share what they are doing to protect the ocean, showcasing the idea that, together, we can make a difference. 

Event highlights included beach clean ups at Kahului Harbor, Paia Bay and Kam III; a free PacWhale Eco-Adventures cruise from Maalaea to Olowalu for a hands-on plankton-tow activity, snorkel reef cleanup and sea-surface microplastic sampling; movie night at Paia Bay coffee; a Front Street Treasure Hunt; a ‘Pollution Solutions’ art contest for keiki; and a Party for the Ocean at Maui Brewing Co.  

1,056 pounds of debris were collected throughout the day by 168 participating volunteers. 72% of the total debris was removed from Kahului Harbor -50 bags of trash weighing 760 lbs, including 242 feet of fishing line-, 246 lbs at Kam III, and 50 lbs at Paia Bay. 64% of the debris collected was plastic.

On the microplastic ecotour, 68 citizen scientists collected 36, 16 oz containers of surface water from Olowalu. After our Research team analyzed the samples, they found 246 pieces of microplastics and 165 microfibers, which equates to 0.43 microplastics per oz of seawater and 0.29 microfibers per oz of seawater. Last year, 36 samples were collected and 0.14 microplastics per oz of seawater were found. (no data for microfibers) According to Pacific Whale Foundation Senior Research Analyst Jens Currie, the microplastic counts are baseline data, and the team will be looking to see how these trends change over time as we continue this annual event.

“Everyone needs to play a part,” states António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “You can make a difference today – and every day – by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up.” 

Party for the Ocean was a success, with over 150 people stopping by to play Oceans Day Bingo, make their own microplastic-free body scrub, learn how to host a green event, and catch up on Pacific Whale Foundation’s core Research, Education and Conservation work. 

Mahalo to all the youngsters who participated in our Keiki Plastic Pollution Solutions art contest. Congratulations to Mikaela Petrilli for winning the drawing for a snorkel trip for four!

Congratulations to our World Oceans Day Treasure Hunt winners! These two will both enjoy a free ecotour on us for finding the Front Street pineapple! Stay posted for the next Treasure Hunt with This Week Hawaii at thisweekhawaii.com/treasurehunt

To see what ‘Together We Can’ do for the ocean on World Oceans Day, take look at events that took place in communities across the globe at WorldOceansDay.org

Posted by:Alicia Wood

Alicia joined Pacific Whale Foundation in 2018 as communications coordinator, after graduating from the University of Hawaii Maui College with a degree in Sustainable Science Management.

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