HONOLULU (KHON2) — If you like to dive, help clean the ocean, support local businesses and win prizes, then this contest might be for you!
“Beat Debris,” which kicked off in 2020, is a citizen science project operated by the Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) to encourage divers to submit reports, so they can collect data on the types of debris found and where they’re finding it.
“We know so many divers are already stewards for the ocean and pick up debris when they can,” said Lauren Chamberlain, who leads the HMAR Marine Debris Program. “Our goal is to understand the types of debris that accumulate in the nearshore reefs around the main Hawaiian Islands and where the debris accumulates.”
After they submit their report, divers are entered to win the contests, which are ongoing no matter when they send their report.
“Our contests typically start and end on a quarterly basis,” Chamberlain explained, “so every three months we will select a winner, and then immediately start a new contest with new prizes.”
Prizes are usually worth up to $500 and are mostly catered to diving equipment.
“We have partnered with a local business for every contest, and it is a huge priority for us to support local businesses throughout our contests,” said Chamberlain.
So far, HMAR has partnered with Aaron’s Dive Shop, ‘Alohi Kai Jewelry, Waihana Wetsuits, High Performance Diving and Protea Zero Waste Store.
The nonprofit has received 181 entries, with about 1,400 pounds of debris removed and reported.
“A majority of this is associated with fishing gear, such as fishing line, lead weights and hooks,” Chamberlain said. “We prioritize removing debris that can directly impact marine animals, through ingestion and entanglement, so monofilament line and hooks are what we really go after.”
Beat Debris divers have removed approximately 19,000 feet of line, 700 hooks and over 2,500 lead weights.