The state Department of Health with assistance from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is awarding six local non-profit, community groups grant funds to help address Japan Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) and keep Hawaii’s shorelines clean.
The focus is on potential debris originating from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011.
“The six grants totaling $100,000 complement ongoing efforts by community groups that are already working to address marine debris, including debris originating from the Japan tsunami,” said Gary Gill, deputy director of the DOH Environmental Health Administration.
“For years Hawaii has depended on volunteers to keep marine debris off our beaches,” Gill said. “Today, we are providing a little support for the very big job they do.”
The selected projects will help to reduce the impacts of marine debris from alien species, marine life entanglement, economic costs, and human health and safety.
The awardees are:
* Kauai: Surfrider Kauai, $25,000
* Maui: Hawaii Wildlife Fund, $20,000
* Big Island: Recycle Hawaii, $20,000
* Honolulu: Surfrider Oahu, $13,000
* Honolulu: Kupu, $11,000
* Honolulu: Sustainable Coastlines, $11,000
The grant funds, which will be administered by the DOH, were provided by a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and another $50,000 of matching funds contributed by DLNR.
Selected proposals will reduce marine debris through beach cleanup and education activities that support ongoing habitat conservation in Hawaii coastal areas.
Awardees and projects are located within the Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and Honolulu counties with a focus on areas that typically receive the most marine debris.
Project selection was based in part on confirmed JTMD items and areas known to accumulate the most marine debris.
To date, there have been eight confirmed JTMD items in Hawaii and more than 1,700 reports of potential JTMD in the United States and Canada.
Confirmed JTMD items
* September 2012 – Blue Bin (YK Suisan Bin) – Makapuu, Oahu
* September 2012 – Fishing Skiff (20 x 6 feet) – 700nm NE of Maui
* November, 2012 – Small Boat — Midway
* November, 2012 – Boat (pieces) — Kahana Bay, Oahu
* December, 2012 – Fishing Skiff – Punaluu, Oahu
* February, 2013 – Buoy – Off Kauai
* February, 2013 – Fishing Skiff — Kahuku, Oahu
* February, 2013 – Sign from Ozuchi Town — Midway