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News and Media

News and Media

By Oahu Volunteer Coordinator & ODA Advisory Board Member Marjorie Zensen

October 1st started off as a beautiful Hawaiian day.

Clear and sunny skies seemed to be in order, and I couldn’t be more pleased!

Twenty ODA volunteers gathered at a new spot for ODA: Poka’i Bay in Waianae on Oahu. 

Cleanup site Malaea Poka'i Bay

Poka'i Bay is located between the small boat harbor in Wai'anae and Kane'ilio Point, a peninsula which is home to an ancient Hawaiian temple site (Ku'ilioloa Heiau). Poka’i Bay was originally named Malaea, meaning "calm" or "serene."

Ocean cleanup crew meets to debrief

Immediately our shore/jetty cleaners got to work, and I was curious as to what we would find as our 12 eager divers entered the water! Our divers buddied up and made their way into the water underwater – they included: Michael Dal Pra, Chris Denton, Mark England, Ray Goodrich, photographer Crystal Gray, Ron Porter, Roney Rodrigues, Chad Schmidt, Ed Sisino, Kay Smullen, and Damaris Torre-Poliza. ODA Dive Team Coordinator Glenn Roberts led our scuba divers and provided the mandatory safety and operations briefing.

Onshore cleanup crew included: Terry Carwile, Christine and Dan Fisher, Debra Kaawalauole-Townsend, Christine Pang, Brian and Renae Pittman, and me (Marjorie Zensen). Thank you to Renae for photographing the land cleanup efforts!

Ocean Defender volunteers start cleanup in breakwall
Scuba divers get in water to begin underwater cleanup

The ladies working on the jetty had an interesting job!

Debbie gets into her job! Literally

They had to not only pull items out from between the crevices but also sometimes get down into the spaces between the rocks!

Shore crew bags up garbage

It wasn’t long before I spotted some divers heading back into shore. I ran to the water to grab their trash, dumped their bags, returned them to the divers, and sent them back out. Over and over, the divers would hand us more full bags to be dumped. Our pile under the shade of the trees grew very quickly, aided by our tireless shore/jetty cleaners. 

Michael finds this mat that was smothering the bottom
Camera woman Crystal and Michael with an awesome find

On land it was “divide and conquer”! Debra  Kaawalauole-Townsend, Christine Pang, and Brian and Renae Pittman tackled the jetty and rocky area, while Terry Carwile walked the beach, filling his bucket with debris. Christine and Dan Fisher picked away at the park area.

Honestly, I was shocked at our growing pile. I really did not expect to see so much rubbish.

UW Diver Glenn Roberts removing debris

From the sea came sunglasses, bags, fabrics, fishing poles, cans, cans and more cans, plastics of all kinds, mask and snorkels, toys, a tire, fishing line (so very, very much line), fishing weights, small anchor hook, a traffic cone, plastic boat mat, a grill grate among many, many other items including a toy shark (can you find it in one of the photos?😀).

 Abandoned fishing line is a hazard to marine wildlife and it affects their habitat as well. One of our regular underwater cleanup tasks is cutting fishing line and carefully removing it.ODA UW Diver cutting fishing line

Below you can see how the fishing line can get wrapped and tangled around coral heads and other flora growing on the ocean floor.

news 2023 10 06 23 UW Diver removing debris 9 MichaelLR 1200w wm

While this was going on, the land workers pulled fabrics, pillows, more plastics, so, so many bottle caps, cans, cans and more cans, toys, bicycle wheels, wheelchair wheels, tent tarps and poles, a bag of fishhooks, food containers, shoes, boots, a metal grate and a plastic chair… among many other items!

This is our shot of the crew with the "Catch of the Day," but in the photo gallery you can see in other photos that there was even more collected debris than fit in this picture!

ODA Ocean Cleanup Crew with Catch of the DayODA Ocean Cleanup Crew with Catch of the Day - from left to right, back row: Terry, Ed, Chris, Michael.
Front row: Glenn Robersts, Crystal Gray, Ray, Debra, Majoria, Chad, and Mark England (kneeling).

An extra shout out to Terry and Debra for loading their truck and dropping the bigger items off at the transfer station! Thanks so much for that! 

I am so impressed, every time, with this crazy, eclectic group of volunteers! They are dedicated and committed and have such a passion and drive to give back to our land and ocean!

I am so honored to be able to serve in this way with them! I will again leave you with a challenge: what can YOU do today or tomorrow to make a difference? I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, it doesn’t have to be big! A small thing: skip the straw, the single use plastics, the plastic grocery bags! Or maybe go big: spend one of your cherished weekend days cleaning up a river, a stream, the ocean, the woods, or even your neighborhood streets! Or, go bigger and get involved on a regular basis with an organization like Ocean Defenders Alliance! If you can’t get out with us, please consider a donation! No matter what you choose to do, it will make a difference! Mahalo!

Yes I'll donate to keep cleanups going!