Olowalu Beach Cleanup ~ October 12
Many thanks to our partner organizations for helping make this event a success: Malama Maui Nui, Surfrider Foundation, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, County of Maui, and Pacific Whale Foundation!
This is the second cleanup at Olowalu this month, during International Coastal Cleanup Month, a movement coordinated by Conservation International’s “Get the Drift and Bag It”. Volunteer kept track of the items collected for data compilation and statistics. By far the most common items found were cigarette butts, bottle caps, and bits of plastic. Other found items of concern were batteries, syringes, and large amounts of used toilet paper. Olowalu is a heavily used area for camping, snorkeling and fishing by both tourists and Maui residents. Despite it’s heavy use, the area has no chemical toilets and until our recent efforts had no garbage cans.
Olowalu”s waters are home to over 31 species of coral, some over 500 years old and many listed as endangered species. Over 300 manta rays use the reef to clean, socialize, and mate. Sharks and turtles use the reef as a feeding station. Olowalu has been scientifically shown to be a “mother reef”, with its spawning corals’ polyps seeding neighbor reefs up West Maui and as far as the shores of Lana’i and Moloka’i.
Because Olowalu is so special ecologically recreationally, it has been chosen by the MNMRC as a Coral Reef Recovery Site. We will continue to monitor the site and work to have chemical toilets installed and regular trash pickup arranged.