Northwestern Islands' waters cleaned up


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Coast Guard said yesterday its latest cleanup netted 32 tons of trash from the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Walnut worked with the Army's dive team to clear the debris during a three-week, 2,900-mile mission to Maro Reef, Kure and Midway Atoll.

“;America's marine waters and their ecosystems are vital to the health, well-being and economy of the nation,”; said Eric Roberts, the marine protected-species program manager for the 14th Coast Guard District. “;For this reason, the Coast Guard's role in carrying out the nation's mandates to protect our marine environment is of vital importance.”;

The Walnut, a 225-foot buoy tender, offloaded the debris yesterday, which will be shredded and burned into energy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that every year more than 50 tons of marine debris enters the area also known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

More than 540 metric tons of garbage and derelict fishing gear have been removed from the islands' waters since 1996.

;[Preview]    Coast Guard reels in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands debris

At Honolulu Harbor today, the Coast Guard unloaded more than 32 tons of debris picked up in a massive cleanup at the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

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In addition to the Walnut's marine debris recovery efforts, the cutter was engaged in a two-week law enforcement patrol. The crew also delivered supplies to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.