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Paddleboarders stand up for bay


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POSTED: Friday, April 03, 2009

The popularity of Maunalua Bay as a water recreation spot has become a detriment to its waters and marine life.

“;It's well loved but not well cared for,”; said Alyssa Miller, coordinator of Malama Maunalua, an organization dedicated to the restoration of the bay's water quality. Trash found in the water comes from the array of activities at the bay as well as the surrounding region, where more than 60,000 people live.

               

     

 

MALAMA MAUNALUA

       

        What: Experienced stand-up paddleboarders to paddle from Maunalua Bay to Waialae Beach Park to pick up trash to remind the public to help keep the land and ocean clean.
       

When: Tomorrow

       

Where: 9 a.m. at Maunalua Beach Park, 6505 Kalanianaole Highway. Event slated to be finished at 11 a.m. Custom-made utility belts will be supplied to participants.

       

Cost: $20 donation for a Wet Feet surf jersey and lunch. The first 50 people to register will get a free jersey.

       

Those interested in participating in the event can register at the Wet Feet store at the Aina Haina Shopping Center or call Alika Winter, Maunalua Makai Watch coordinator, at 561-8691.

       

The first stand-up paddleboard cleanup will take place tomorrow from Maunalua Bay to Waialae Beach Park to remind the public not to use the ocean as a dumping ground. Experienced stand-up paddleboarders will pick up trash in the ocean in the 4-mile stretch with the use of the “;T”; top of their paddles and customized utility belts, where litter can be stored.

So far, about two dozen people have said they will participate.

Alika Winter, coordinator of Maunalua Makai Watch, came up with the idea of a stand-up paddleboard cleanup event after talking about the plight at the bay with Doug Lock, co-owner of Wet Feet, a stand-up paddleboard store at Aina Haina Shopping Center.

Both discussed how people are less conscious of keeping the land and ocean free of rubbish nowadays compared with when they were younger. Lock, an avid stand-up paddleboarder, already picks up trash during his paddling sessions.

Often he will find his board short pockets filled with rubbish he picked up from the ocean. Lock and business partner Karen Lar Rieu collaborated to create a utility belt where trash can be placed into an attached small, lightweight mesh bag.

Bob Richmond, research professor and principal investigator at the University of Hawaii Kewalo Marine Laboratory, said there is a lack of awareness of how pollutants and trash affect the ocean.

“;It's a situation of out of sight, out of mind,”; he said. “;They don't see the damage that's occurring due to land-based activities.”;

Nine subwatersheds drain into the bay. During heavy rain, trash, sediment and pollutants flow into the bay, reducing water quality and affecting the coral reef.

Richmond applauded the group's efforts to organize a cleanup. Any effort to clean up the bay is a definite step in the right direction, he said.

“;It not only directly improves the water quality; it plays a big role in engaging the community in activities and increase their knowledge of Hawaii's coastal marine resources,”; he said. “;The coastal marine resources are critically important, economically, ecologically and culturally. When we mistreat our resources, we end up hurting ourselves in those three areas of quality of life.”;