Car wash introduces ‘ocean-friendly’ measures

Lahainaluna High School students wash cars at the Old Lahaina Luau parking lot as part of an ocean-friendly charity car wash with the West Maui Kumuwai campaign. -- LIZ FOOTE photo

For the first time in Hawaii, an “ocean-friendly” charity car wash was held in order to lessen the pollutants associated with vehicles and car care that reach storm drains and can harm the environment. The West Maui Kumuwai campaign, a movement for ocean health, teamed up with students from Lahainaluna High School, who spent their Saturday morning on Nov. 17 washing upward of 50 cars at the Old Lahaina Luau’s parking lot in Lahaina.

The car wash was free, but students collected voluntary donations that amounted to nearly $500 to support the school’s student council.

The environmentally sustainable model for charity car washes consists of using a simple submersible pump system to suck up the wash water and redirect it to a vegetated area, where it will benefit from natural filtration before replenishing groundwater, or to a sink or toilet, which ensures it will be transmitted to a treatment plant instead of a storm drain.

This event was coordinated with the support of a Lahainaluna High School student, Maritza Miranda, who worked on her senior project with West Maui Kumuwai.

The ocean-friendly car wash was sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources. Ace Hardware donated materials, and Old Lahaina Luau provided the venue, water and power.

For more information, contact WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or 283-1631.

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