Japan Tsunami Marine Debris

Kau Cleanup

Kids in Kau sort through debris gathered along the coast of Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) with assistance from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) awarded six local non-profit, community groups grant funds to help address Japan Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) and keep Hawaii’s shorelines clean.  The focus was on potential debris originating from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011.

The six grants, provided in 2013-2014, totaled $100,000 and complemented ongoing efforts by community groups that were already working to address marine debris, including debris originating from the Japan tsunami.   For years Hawaii has depended on volunteers to keep marine debris off our beaches. The selected organizations continue to help to reduce the impacts of marine debris from alien species, marine life entanglement, economic costs, and human health and safety. The awardees were:

  • Surfrider Kauai, $25,000 (for Kauai County);
  • Hawaii Wildlife Fund, $20,000 (for Maui County);
  • Recycle Hawaii, $20,000 (for Hawaii County);
  • Surfrider Oahu, $13,000 (for Honolulu County);
  • Kupu, $11,000 (for Honolulu County); and
  • Sustainable Coastlines, $11,000 (for Honolulu County).

From August 2013 to September 2014, the six grant awardees received a total of $100,000 and matched this with over $180,000 for a total project value of well over $280,000.  Over 99 miles of coastline was clean up by over 5,000 volunteers who dedicated more than 12,000 hours to the cause.  Over 55 beach cleanup events were held and over 50 metric tons of debris was removed from our shorelines.

The grant funds, were administered by the DOH, but were provided by DLNR $50,000 and a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.  Selected proposals reduced marine debris through beach cleanups and education activities that support ongoing habitat conservation in Hawaii coastal areas. Awardees and projects were located within the Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and Honolulu Counties with a focus on areas that typically receive the most marine debris.


Environmental Planning Office
919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 312
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: (808) 586-4337

Last update: 09/09/2015