A 5,000-pound net that washed up on a Kapaa beach in December was loaded into a container bound for the Mainland on a Saturday in Februray.
It made up a large chunk of the estimated 90,000 pounds of marine debris that volunteers with Surfrider Kauai’s Net Patrol and Beach Cleanup programs have gathered from Kauai beaches over the past year.
“We’ve only done a quarter of this before,” said Barbara Weidner, vice chairwoman of Surfrider Kauai. “It’s really amazing to see it all together like this.”
The Saturday recycling party was the culmination of endless volunteer hours of scraping the beaches of debris, and about 85 hours of loading that debris into two containers.
Sustainable Coastlines, a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on building capacity for beach cleanups, secured the containers for Surfrider Kauai.
“We had seven work parties and lots of small groups of people showed up to help,” Weidner said. “A lot of people showed up, too, for a few hours in afternoons.”
Scott McCubbins, co-coordinator of Net Patrol and Beach Cleanup with Weidner, estimates he spent about 16 hours loading the containers as well.
On Saturday, people filtered in throughout the four-hour loading event. They sawed foam buoys away from the mass of fishing nets and picked up the last bits of debris while a front loader handled the heavy lifting.
After putting in some work, volunteers took a break with treats donated by Java Kai and Kauai Juice Company. Among them was Rell Aslett, who lives part-time in Kapaa and part-time in Pocatello, Idaho.
“I didn’t know this was going on when I came out here this time,” Aslett said. “But I’m a big supporter of the beach cleanups, so I’m glad I’m able to be here.”
The loaded containers will be weighed and the debris will be shipped to Adidas, where it will be recycled.
Written for The Garden Island Newspaper, published Feb 19,2017. Photos by Jessica Else, taken for The Garden Island Newspaper.