By Diane Ako
The beach at Heeia Pier is a tiny bit cleaner today, after our first cleanup on Christmas Eve. It's something my friend Christian and I organized, in an effort to instill a spirit of volunteerism and environmentalism into my daughter, as well as malama our aina. If we don't take it upon ourselves to care for the Earth, who will?
Also, I really don't want Olivia to grow up thinking Christmas is only about presents and material goods. It bothers the heck out of me that for the six weeks leading up to the 25th, Christmas in America has become largely an economic story. It's too much. It's out of control. This is my personal backlash.
Half a dozen people showed up. Including the organizers. And including people who had no say in the matter, like Olivia and Inca, but I'm going to count them since they were happy to play around while we picked up litter. My husband and Christian's girlfriend came, which could kind of be a grey point in counting them.
Is it their duty to show up since they're our romantic partners? Um, at this point, I'm gonna say no as well. Because I need all the bodies I can get. Or as Paul Drewes spun it: You wanna start low, so next year when you do get a dozen people, you can say you doubled your attendance!
So actually, the only bona fide attendee was our friend Dancetta Feary, who took a break from her Realtoring to join us. Cleaning the land instead of selling it. She raises butterflies, and brought 20 monarchs to release to commemorate the day! How sweet!
We had some >mumble mumble< technical issues also. Um, Christian and I miscommunicated on who was in charge of the garbage bags so we ended up having only six. We did, however, have 150 pairs of gloves. And he also got Jamba Juice to sponsor us! He had 20 free 16-ounce smoothie coupons for people! Awesome!
We easily filled all six bags. We combed the area from the canoe hale to the first underpass; about 20 yards. I was disappointed to see there was a LOT of trash. It doesn't look that way in photos, but when you get out and start picking up, there's more than you realize. A lot of it is plastic bags and plastic wrappers of all sizes, and it's all filled up with sand. Much of it is tangled in the trees that separate the highway from the shore.
I think if even two dozen people came out next time, we could really clean the beach much better. The strip we cleaned constituted about a quarter of the full length.
I'm theorizing a lot of the garbage is tossed from cars, and a lot washes up with the tides. It makes me sad to see how much litter is out there. Even if it's accidentally blown off people's yards or something, it's just too much. There's so much overpackaging, so much... consumerism.
Some of the grosser things we picked up were four USED DIAPERS. What kind of jerk is leaving their kid's used diapers? Seriously, people? There are trash cans and a dumpster at the pier. Walk ten feet! Someone also left a used, large gasoline canister. People can be such pigs. WHY DON'T PEOPLE CARE?
We are definitely going back next year. Next time we are going to plan it much better. And again, you're all invited!