Record amounts of net masses have hit Hawaii’s shores this year and many of the community groups that responded to their removal also attended a recent international event on marine pollution in California.
In March, 28 delegates from Hawaii representing numerous organizations and agencies made their way to San Diego to attend and present during the sixth International Marine Debris Conference. The event, from March 12-16, was hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the United Nations Environment Programme brought together more than 700 participants from more than 50 countries around the world.
“Hawaii’s significant representation at the 6IMDC indicates not only how large an issue plastic pollution is for our islands, but it also shows the dedication of our local organizations, government agencies, researchers and advocates to address this issue from all angles.” said Doorae Shin, Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawaii program manager.
More than 400 oral presentations and 170 posters were shared during the five days with the global community, focusing primarily on research, removal and prevention of marine debris.
Hawaii attendees represented 4 percent of the total participation in this international event and demonstrated teamwork and camaraderie toward this common plastic pollution problem to national and international partners.
Hawaii has long been the leader in the marine debris community, hosting four of the six international marine debris gatherings in Honolulu since 1984 and becoming the first state to develop an official “Marine Debris Action Plan” in 2010.
Show of force
Hawaii agencies and organizations represented at 6IMDC included:
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund
Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources – Department of Land and Natural Resources
Hawaii Pacific University
International Pacific Research Center
Johnson ‘Ohana Charitable Foundation
Kokua Hawaii Foundation
Na Kama Kai
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
NOAA Marine Debris Program
NOAA Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center
Pacific Whale Foundation
Resource Mapping Hawaii
School of Ocean and Earth Science &Technology – University of Hawai‘i Mānoa
Shannon McCarthy Art
Surfrider Foundation, Kauai, Maui and Oahu Chapters
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii