A statewide survey of ocean debris has created a snapshot in time to document where trash regularly washes ashore.
The survey was funded by the Japanese government to measure debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but found less than 1% actually came from the disaster.
Most of the debris was from discarded fishing nets and trash, accumulating mostly in hotspots on the north and east shores of each island. O‘ahu had less than 5% of the total debris identified in the study, while Ni‘ihau had the most.
Brian Neilson is an aquatic invasive species biologist with the DLNR. He says O‘ahu’s low number is due to active beach cleanups from local environmental groups like the Surfrider Foundation or Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.
Neilson says his team is currently looking for funding to conduct follow up surveys to better understand how to handle the situation.