In this recent photo are some of the Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School (NVTHS) students, taking a break from their “Vo-Tech Gets Involved” trash collection project at Lions Park. NVTHS Science teacher Adelle Posala Talaeai said her students have worked on the project this past month and half. Talaeai was awarded a Teacher's Challenge Award from the Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG) for this project.

“The purpose of the project is for students to get out of the classroom and go into the field to collect and analyze data on the accumulation of trash at Lion's Park's shoreline,” Talaeai explained. “Of course the ultimate goal is to influence change and to inform the public of the tremendous collection of trash that seems to accumulate along the Lion's Park shoreline.”

In one-kilometer of shoreline — from corner of airport to tennis courts — for the month of February, students filled 40 trash bags weighing just over 150 pounds, she said, and noted that a mini-refrigerator was found behind the pulu tree near the playground.

Students collected 630 plastic bottles, 223 plastic bags, 339 food wrappers (chips/candies), 263 styro foam cups, 769 foam pieces, 27 diapers, 26 pieces of clothing and 68 shoes to name a few.

Talaeai’s third period class on Monday decided to extend the route for the trash collection — past the corner of the airport gate towards the opening of the bay because they noticed the number of plastic bottles scattered around.

“I wasn't going to stop their journey,” she said yesterday. “So, what did they — 11 students total — surprisingly collect in 30 minutes?”

In addition to other trash, students collected 193 plastic bottles, 108 food wrappers, 57 plastic bags, 53 foam pieces, and 51 shoes. Nine filled trash bags. Total trash weight = 62 pounds — that is an excessive amount of waste.

“This project is slated to continue until May. My students and I visit Lion's Park twice a month to collect data. Though I do foresee continuing this project next year as a monthly project,” she said and points out that with ZWW (Zero Waste Week) right around the corner, “we should learn to be less dependent on materials that generate waste, particularly plastics and Styrofoam products.”

“The marine ecosystem continues to be plagued with debris we are responsible for, and yet we are not. We must all be involved in caring for our environment,” she urged the community. The project’s data can be viewed at bit.ly/nvthstrash

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