About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Sept. 27, 2012

TSUNAMI DEBRIS washing up in Ka`u, on the longest uninhabited coast in Hawai`i, may need more help for Hawai`i Wildlife Fund and others to clean it up. The timeline earlier predicted by research scientists for the landing of plastics and other flotsam from Japan’s March 9, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has been shortened and trash is expected to keep on coming through next Spring.
Several large items – a concrete dock and a floating plastic blue seafood bin, both identified as from Japan - were recently found floating in Hawaiian waters. Such floating debris is a hazard to navigation, potentially destructive to reefs, and potentially carries invasive marine species.
     According to a story in Civil Beat this morning, state Department of Land and Natural Resources chair William Aila, said he plans to ask the 2013 state legislature for $2 million to help with the unknown size of an upcoming cleanup. Another $1 million was approved by congress last year, pushed through by Sen. Dan Inouye. According to Hawai`i News Now, the state has received $10,000 for debris cleanup and the state Department of Transportation has set aside $10 million to help remove any debris that blocks harbors and channels.
     Anyone seeing any items in the water or washed up on shore, suspected of being from Japan, can email and, if possible, send a photo to marinedebris@soesthawaii.edu and disasterdebris@noaa.gov. Also call the DLNR at 808-587-0400. See  marinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris.

A soccer ball found in tsunami debris from Japan
Photo from NOAA
PLASTICS ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS of debris carried by currents from the tsunami. Metal and wood having already deteriorated, most of it falling to the bottom of the Pacific. According to scientists studying the great Pacific Garbage Patch and other gyres that collect wastes and circulate them in the major currents of the world’s oceans, plastics create a somewhat toxic soup.
     Surfrider Foundation states that “an estimated 100 million tons of plastic debris have accumulated in two areas of the Pacific Ocean that together are larger than the continental United States. There is so much plastic, that it outnumbers the zooplankton six to one.”
     States Surfrider, “Plastic, like diamonds, are forever. It doesn’t biodegrade and no naturally occurring organisms can break it down. Plastic photo-degrades, which means that sunlight breaks it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Those small pieces drift in the ocean and are mistaken for food by fish and birds. Seabirds are often found dead with innards full of plastic. Sadly, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to ingestion of or entanglement in plastics.”
     Surfrider has launched a Rise Above Plastics campaign, to discourage the use of single-use plastics and encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. Surfrider recommends: “Use reusable bottles for water and other drinks. Use cloth bags for groceries and other purchases. Recycle the plastic bags and bottles you already have.” See www.surfrider.org.

PLASTICS NOT ONLY ENDANGER WILDLIFE. According to a recent story in Honolulu Weekly, scientists report that for humans “most plastics are made with chemical additives like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, known endocrine-disruptors that can lead to obesity, infertility, cancer and other health problems. Micro-plastics also absorb the toxic chemicals from pesticides, flame-retardants and polluted runoff.”
Dr. Marcus Eriksen studies plastics in
the ocean. Photo from 5gyres.org
   Honolulu Weekly quotes Dr. Marcus Eriksen who studies plastic pollution in the oceans: “There’s a chemical body burden that all humans carry, especially women,” Eriksen said. “The Environmental Working Group did a study in which they looked at the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies. On day one, the cord between the baby and the placenta was analyzed, and it showed that the blood found in all 10 babies had 287 synthetic chemicals.”
     “We are walking synthetic chemistry experiments,” Eriksen told Honolulu Weekly. “If you look at the breast milk of the Inuit [people], for example [who eat primary marine mammals],they have some of the highest pollutant loads in their breast milk.” 
     Eriksen recommends that government agency and consumers incentivize Extended Producer Responsibility so that manufacturers and food producers become responsible for the life cycle of their products and packaging, so containers can be recaptured and recycled. Eriksen argues that by promoting EPR, companies will design better, safer and less wasteful products, which could lead to less plastics in the ocean. He points to the styrofoam, other plastics and more debris washing up on shores from the tsunami that happened more than a year ago.  See www.5gyres.org.

HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT CO, In celebration of Energy Awareness month in October, invites the community to its HELCO Community Energy Fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo.
     Through educational displays, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities, attendees can learn about electricity generation, power distribution, renewable energy, electrical safety, emergency preparedness, and customer services. The fair also features demonstrations by school robotics programs, electric vehicles, and keiki IDs. Starting at 10 a.m., performances begin with Halau Na Lei Hiwahiwa O Ku`ualoha, Energy in Motion Dance Company, and Waiakea Intermediate School Ukulele Band.
     Attendees who visit each of the exhibits and submit acompleted “energy passport” will receive a free reusable bag. For more information, call 969-0118.

Mako sharks would be further protected with new agreements.
MIGRATORY AND OTHER SHARKS, many of them seen in Hawai`i, are expected to receive more attention, not to eradicate them but to preserve them, following an agreement reached this week by more than 50 countries. 
   Participants under the UN Convention on Migratory Species, adopted a new conservation plan, which aims to catalyze regional initiatives to reduce threats to migratory sharks.              
     Signatory states agreed to involve fishing industry representatives, NGOs, and scientists in implementing the conservation plan. The meeting was held in Germany. Sharks seen in Hawaiian waters to be covered in the conservation plan include basking, whale sharks and mako, along with the occasional great white. 
In addition to being caught intentionally for shark fin soup, the meat of the mako and other uses, many sharks are caught accidentally by fishing nets and hooks. 

A MAILE DAVID coffee hour will be held Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at 94-5819 Aouli Place in Disovery Harbour, hosted by Irv and Carol Massey. Area residents are invited to meet David, who is running for County Council to represent Ka`u. For more information, call the Masseys at 929-9001 or Bobby Gomes at 928-8227.

RESIDENTS INTERESTED IN JOINING the newly incorporated Ha`ao Springs & Mountain House Ag Water Co-op are encouraged to attend the meeting tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. The co-op is looking for members to help survey and GPS the proposed water line route, organize a membership outreach meeting at Na`alehu Community Center and begin research and exploration of water use rules. For more information, contact Alison Yahna at beeoracle@hotmail.com.

ARTISTS ARE INVITED TO ENTER Ka`u Chamber of Commerce’s art show and Directory 2013 art contest. Entries are accepted Friday from noon until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at CU Hawai`i credit union in Na`alehu.
Categories are Graphic, Sculpture, Wood, Photography and Craft, and all pieces must have been completed in the last 12 months. The popular winner will become the cover of The Directory, the annual publication of the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. The fee is $5 for each artwork. A Keiki Division is new this year for children in grades one through six, one entry per keiki. Keiki categories are Graphics and Photography, no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, including frames, if any. The entry fee for Keiki is $1, and these entries are not eligible for the cover of The Directory 2013. Only the first 60 Keiki exhibits will be accepted. Voting takes place all next week at CU Hawai`i.