Special Project #1: Ban Certain Single Use Plastics in Hawaii
The legislature unfortunately failed to pass the proposed bans on Plastic Straws and Polystyrene Food Containers this year, but just as happened with the Oxybenzone in Sunscreen Ban that took two years to pass, our battle here is just beginning.
It is more important that ever to change your own personal consumption habits to refuse plastic straws, eat in rather than get take-away food in sytrofoam containers, and to continue to help spread awareness of our plastic pollution problem through beach cleanups, sharing of articles and efforts on social media, and contacting your Representatives to demand a change.
The proposed plastic bans will no doubt be up for consideration in 2020, so its time now to auger in and generate as much support as possible!
Special Project #2: Create Private-Public Partnership to Get a Sand Sifting Tractor for Kailua Beach Park
Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors is currently working on getting a Sand Sifter tractor to clean Oahu's windward coastlines through a generous offer by All Time Low bassist, Zack Merrick, to purchase the machine and operate it with the cooperation of the City & County of Honolulu.
These talks are ongoing but we are hopeful to complete this project before the end of 2019, taking another big step forward in caring for the 'aina and doing all we can to improve the health of the ocean and its fragile coral reef ecosystem.
We are so incredibly proud and grateful for everything our supporters and volunteers did to help us achieve success on the following projects:
* The Educational Video at Hanauma Bay was changed to no longer show people walking on coral reefs or approaching/touching Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. This success was the result of a Change.org petition, numerous meetings, emails, phone calls, and letters to State and City officials, and the combined efforts of the Friends of Hanauma Bay, Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors, and the Department of Parks & Recreation.
* The State of Hawaii banned the sale of Sunscreen containing the reef-killing chemical Oxybenzone. Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors (HOA) worked alongside Dr. Craig Downs who conducted the scientific study to advocate for the ban, including published interviews, letter-writing and phone call drives to our state and local representatives, and provided testimony at the State Capitol. This effort took two years and failed in the State Legislature in 2017, but was successful in the 2018 Legislative Session! Hawaii is the first State in the United States to pass such a ban, and other States look to be quickly following suit! Thank you all so, so much for all of the calls, emails, and for sharing this critical information with your friends and families!
In addition to these efforts, HOA also conducted dozens and dozens of beach cleanups on Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and New Jersey, introducing many folks to the size and scope of the devastation that our consumer society is having on the Ocean and our Coastlines.
We look forward to working with State Representatives in 2019 and beyond on getting several new bills passed in the State of Hawaii, including a ban on plastic straws and a ban on polystyrene food containers. We are also working to get mechanized sand sifters for Oahu's windward beaches.
Stay tuned as Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors turns the page on another year and begins to attack a whole new set of environmental challenges in the year ahead - and thank you all endlessly for all of the support along the way!!!
Currently, Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors (HOA) is working on a number of special projects, including:
Change.org Petition to Improve Coral Reef Education at Hanauma Bay
There are currently over 9,300 signatures including support from pro surfers, lifeguards, marine biologists, Friends of Hanauma Bay, visitors and locals alike asking for the currently misleading educational video at HB to be updated to remove sections showing people walking on the coral reef and approaching sea turtles. We understand our voices have been heard and a new video is currently in production. We anxiously await its release. To encourage a fast roll-out of the video we ask that people continue to sign and share the petition. You can also learn more here.
Working to encourage Hawaii State Legislators to pass a bill to ban Oxybenzone - a chemical additive in sunscreen that causes massive damage to the fragile coral reef environment
Unfortunately, the bill to ban oxybenzone stalled in committee in the Hawaii State Legislature in 2017. State Senator Joe Espero has made a promise to re-introduce the bill in the 2018 session. Efforts to educate people about this dangerous chemical have been successful however with more and more people turning to reef safe sunscreen. To learn more read our interview with Dr. Craig Downs - one of the leading scientists on the issue.
Design and Construction of Sand Sifters to assist folks with Beach Clean Ups
We continue to work on making new and improved designs to sift micro plastics out of the sand. We've built and distributed approximately 25 sand sifters to friends and neighbors who report that they spend more time cleaning the beach now than ever before thanks to the convenience of a long handled sifter. Check out our Sand Sifter page for tips on how to make your own!