Hawaiian Island Becoming Magnet for International Debris

A recent aerial survey over the Hawaiian Island has shown that they have become a magnet for international debris. The debris includes just about everything imaginable; boats, clothes, fishing gear, and plastics of every description. The survey, which was funded by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, was expecting much of this debris to have originated with the 2011 Japanese tsunami but surprisingly that isn’t the case. The survey was conducted by  the Hawaii Department of Land Natural Resources and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization.

We, as in my generation, created this issues It will be up to younger minds to find the solution.

International Debris

According to Brian Neilson, aquatic invasive species biologist of Hawaii’s Division of Aquatic Resources, the island’s location in the Pacific has much to do with the issue of such a heavy concentration of debris. Turns out that they are located right dab in the center of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone which is powered by four major ocean currents that stretch across the north central Pacific Ocean from Japan to California.

Oscar Elton Sette
The NOAA research vessel Oscar Elton Sette. She’s named after Dr. Oscar Elton Sette regarded as the father of modern fisheries oceanography in the US.

To give some perspective to all this, in 2014  NOAA recently removed 57 tons of derelict fishing nets and plastic litter for the tiny Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. They literally had the decks of their ship, Oscar Elton Settle, piled high with debris.

Tsunami Debris

The report said the first confirmed item from the Japanese tsunami to reach Hawaii was a blue plastic fishing container found Sept. 18, 2012, off Makapu’u, Oahu. and since then 21 vessels and an assortment of buoys, fishing containers, signs, and other items have washed up.


The only good thing to be said for all this is that there are bright young minds trying to come up with a solution. Most are a bit far fetched, but I think what’s important here is that the young minds are wrestling with the problem. We, as in my generation, made the issue and it will be up to younger minds to make the solution. I’m just thankful they’re thinking about it! Hope yet!



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