Grant for tsunami debris cleanup

The Hawaii Wildlife Fund has received a $20,000 grant from the state to help mitigate the possible environmental impacts of Japan tsunami marine debris in Maui County.

The wildlife fund was one of six nonprofits statewide to receive grants totaling $100,000 to focus on debris originating from Japan and the tsunami in March 2011 and their potential environmental, economic and health and safety effects, a state Department of Health news release said.

The money will be used to “complement ongoing efforts by community groups that are already working to address marine debris, including debris originating from the Japan tsunami,” said Gary Gill, deputy director of the Health Department’s Environmental Health Administration. “For years, Hawaii has depended on volunteers to keep marine debris off our beaches. Today, we are providing a little support for the very big job they do.”

Selected groups will reduce marine debris through beach cleanup and education activities that support ongoing habitat conservation in Hawaii coastal areas. They will focus on areas that typically receive the most marine debris.

The grant funds will be administered by the state Department of Health, which received a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program and $50,000 in matching funds by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

To date, there have been eight confirmed tsunami debris items in Hawaii and more than 1,700 reports of potential items in the United States and Canada. The public is urged to report findings of potential tsunami debris to DLNR at (808) 587-0400 or and to NOAA at disaster

For guidance on “what to do if you see debris in Hawaii’s ocean or beaches,” go to