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Letter for Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Time for a serious cleanup

Fewer visitors have arrived on Kaua‘i last year, but when walking along the uncrowded beaches on the Eastside, it’s crystal clear that plastics will continue to arrive at our shorelines at alarming rates. No matter how much our beautiful marine environment has recovered during the visitor pause of COVID-19, microplastic, bottle caps, plastic cutlery or fishing nets can be found on practically every foot of sand.

We don’t hear much from governmental agencies about cleanup efforts, and it seems only nonprofit organizations and volunteers are the ones who tackle this problem.

Although we may feel like we have to dig ourselves out of a hole trying to reclaim all of the revenue and TAT that the visitor industry lost in 2020, this is a chance for a transition to high-value tourism. The best way to do that isn’t to dump money into marketing visitors because social media and travel media already take care of that. We must clean-up this plastic.

We know where the ocean currents flow, we know which beaches continually get the most rubbish. Let’s use the funding that Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau receive to install floating contraptions, such as miniature versions inspired by The Ocean Cleanup used at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and create sand-sifting vehicles or beach “Roombas.”

Kaua‘i will always be a desirable vacation destination considering it’s one of the few tropical islands that the continental U.S. can travel to without a passport. So let’s get serious about beach clean-up and we can pull in the best visitors to Kaua‘i.

Jade Moss, Lihu‘e
Source: The Garden Island

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