The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made a big clean up over the past month, picking up 12 tons of trash from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
The debris was collected around five different islands and atolls. Most of what was found were fishing nets, plastic bottles, shoes, slippers, and toothbrushes.
Officials also took the opportunity to show it to keiki from grades three through six as part of an educational event Friday at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, teaching them how to sort and recycle each item properly.
“The kids are just getting their hands dirty,” said program spokesman Mark Manuel, “getting exposed to the different types of debris that they find in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and just making that connection really with your day-to-day use of plastics.”
After the event, the plastics will be recycled for use in art displays and manufactured goods. All derelict fishing nets will be sent to Hawaii’s Nets to Energy Program to be used as fuel to generate electricity, powering homes on Oahu.