DOFAW asks you to remember: what happens mauka can effect the health of ecosystems makai. There are so many things we can all do to help protect the unique and beautiful natural resources in Hawaii. Here are 10 ways to help reduce marine debris. This list was compiled by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Choose reusable items and fewer disposable ones. Please visit www.opala.org website to discover more recycling options (e.g., batteries, cans, cell pones, computers, fishing line).
2. Place all rubbish in trash cans with lids so it doesn't blow away. Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash as they empty into our oceans. Throw all cigarette butts and bottle caps into refuse containers!
3. Encourage your tackle shops, docks, marinas, and fishing piers to provide adequate trash cans and recycling bins for used line and other trash. Bring your oil cans, food wrappers, and ciggerette butts back to shore to throw in the rubbish can. Visit the Berkley Fishing page and the Florida Conservation website for more info about monofilament recycling programs.
4. "Paper or plastic?" Neither! Remember to use your re-usable shopping bags when you go to the store. Also remember that "Less is more." Be mindful to select products with minimal packaging.
5. Instead of continually purchasing plastic-bottled water, use water filters, water coolers, and refillable stainless steel bottles instead. Visit www.takebackthefilter.org for more info.
6. Buy soft drinks and juice in aluminum cans or glass bottles which can be redeemed and recycled, as opposed to plastic bottles, which are often "down-cycled" rather than "recycled."
7. Encourage restaurants to use biodegradable (or at least #1 and #2 recyclable plastic) take-out food containers and utensils. Better yet, bring your own!
8. Avoid over packaged merchandise and disposable products like plastic lighters, razors, cameras and other throw-away items. Visit www.ecocycle.org for more info.
9. Avoid body care products that contain tiny plastic "micro-scrubbers" that wash down the drain and into our ocean.
10. Serve as an example to others. Practice 1-9 above and participate in local beach clean-ups. To learn more about marine debris in Hawaii, visit www.hawaiiwildlifefund.org.
In addition, be sure to write and speak to your elected officials and encourage them to support policies that protect our ocean, and all of our natural areas.