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HomeScuba DivingPacific Whale Foundation Supports Two Maui Beach Clean-ups

Pacific Whale Foundation Supports Two Maui Beach Clean-ups

Proudly participating in an event that "Get the Drift and Bag It" is a campaign that raises public awareness about marine debris and its impact on wildlife. The event is Hawaii’s contribution to the International Coastal Cleanup effort. Participants pick up beach litter and marine debris, and catalog it according to type and amount.

On Saturday, teenagers and marine educators from Pacific Whale Foundation’s Maui Ocean C.O.R.E. (Conserving Ocean Resources through Environmental Education) program will be helping to clean up the Waihee oceanfront land acquired recently by the Maui Coastal Land Trust. They will be joined by dozens of other volunteers from the community in removing litter and marine debris.

The Maui Ocean C. O. R. E. (Conserving Ocean Resources through Education) features monthly service projects and free recreational outings designed to inspire youth about the natural environment. Membership is open (and free) for all youth in grades 8 – 12. For information, call Pacific Whale Foundation at 249-8811 or email

Also on Saturday, Pacific Whale Foundation is also supporting the clean-up of Haycraft Park and the shoreline along Ma’alaea Bay by donating free "Save our Oceans" bumperstickers and free cups of organic Hawaiian coffee from its Natural Selections Coffee Co. to all who volunteer. Maui Ocean Center is also offering special gifts to Ma’alaea clean-up volunteers. That clean-up is coordinated by the Ma’alaea Community Association.

Pacific Whale Foundation will also use the occasion to remind the public about its "Butts off the Beach Please" campaign, which educates beach users about the problem of cigarette butt litter and provides smokers with free portable ashtrays for holding discarded cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are â€" by far — the most common litter item picked up during "Get th

The very first Get the Drift and Bag It event was held on October 13, 1984 in Oregon. Organized by Judie Neilson, 2100 volunteers filled 2,412 twenty gallon garbage bags of trash collected on Oregon’s beaches.

After hearing about the success of Oregon’s statewide beach clean-up effort, Pacific Whale Foundation launched and coordinated the first "Get the Drift and Bag It" event in Hawaii on October 20, 1985. More than 300 volunteers on Maui collected 8,000 pounds of beach litter in a three-hour clean-up period.

In the years that followed, Community Work Day and the (now defunct) Hawaii State Office of Litter Control stepped in to help coordinate the event, and the annual beach clean-up took place statewide. The University of Hawaii Sea Grant program also joined as a coordinator.

As part of the 1987 Get the Drift and Bag It event, Pacific Whale Foundation volunteered the use of its vessel Whale One to transport volunteers to the uninhabited island of Kaho’olawe for a shoreline clean-up of Kanapou Bay, an area where marine debris quickly accumulates. The Kahoolawe cleanup was coordinated by the Protect Kaho’olawe Ohana, Community Work Day and Pacific Whale Foundation. It became an annual event for most of the next decade, with Pacific Whale Foundation providing free boat transportation to the volunteers.

"Get the Drift and Bag It is a campaign that brought together the community in Hawaii," said Greg Kaufman, President and founder of Pacific Whale Foundation. "I am proud to have helped introduce this event to Hawaii, and to have watched it grow to include so many organizations, agencies and individuals during the past 18 years."

Today, " Get the Drift and Bag It" involves a wide range of organizations and agencies, including the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program, County of Maui Community Work Day, Governor’s Committee for a Beautiful Hawaii, State of Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program, Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, City and County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation, City and County of Honolulu Public Works, The Ocean Recreation Council of Hawaii (TORCH), Hawaii State Department of Health – Solid Waste Branch, County of Kauai Office of the Mayor, Keep Hawaii Beautiful, Maui Ocean Center and others.

Get the Drift and Bag It supports the International Coastal Cleanup. Data from Get the Drift and Bag It is sent to The Ocean Conservancy of Washington, D.C. and is compiled with data from around the world.

Founded in 1980, Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and promoting appreciation, understanding and protection of whales, dolphins, coral reefs and our planet’s oceans. This is accomplished through public environmental education, by supporting and conducting responsible marine research, and by addressing marine conservation issues through activism and education. To learn more, visit

To learn more about the clean-ups supported by Pacific Whale Foundation, call (808) 244-8390 or email Anne Rillero, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.