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County volunteers join worldwide cleanup

Lahainaluna High School students prepare the 15th Lahaina Town Clean Up on Sept 21. -- CASSANDRA HASTU photo

The 15th Lahaina Town Clean Up on Sept. 21 drew about 500 volunteers picking up trash in the community from waterways, beaches and streets.

The Lahaina cleanup was part of the Ocean Conservancy’s 34th International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest single-day volunteer cleanup effort, a news release about the event said. Maui participants included school and nonprofit groups, civic clubs, local businesses, residents and visitors.

“When you join a cleanup, you are advancing one of the most immediate and impactful solutions to keeping plastics out of the ocean,” said Tambara Garrick, an event organizer from the LahainaTown Action Committee. “Awareness has really grown around the issue of ocean plastic, and it’s great to see people taking action.”

Volunteers spent the day picking up trash over 12 square miles of beaches and streets, stretching from Puamana to Honokowai, and Mala and Lahaina harbors and along Lahainaluna Road.

In addition to picking up trash, a group from The Dirty Monkey stenciled more than 30 storm drains in Lahaina with the message “No Dumping — Drains to Ocean” and Surfrider Foundation officials tested 30 west side beaches for bacteria. The results of the testing are pending.

Since the first International Coastal Cleanup, more than 15 million volunteers have removed nearly 315 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide.