HONOLULU (KHON2) — Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) actively clean coastal waters and shorelines and was founded in 2000 as a marine conservation organization and was registered as a nonprofit in 2002.
ODA is funded by individuals and companies concerned about the problem of marine debris in their area.
Employees and volunteers of ODA clean coastal water and shorelines with the help of technical divers and volunteers picking up trash along the beach.
Kurt Lieber, the President of ODA, said they average around 12 large beach clean ups a year across Hawaii and California.
They have been doing underwater cleanups sine 2003 and have recently started doing beach clean ups since 2016.
Lieber said his rough estimate of debris they have picked up off the shorelines and in the ocean would be around 45,000 pounds.
“We focus on areas of high impact, like at the mouth of rivers or beaches where the currents deliver debris to the shorelines,” said Lieber. “Like the windward side of islands and in California marshes and estuaries where fish and birds are highly impacted.”
ODA uses the local diving community for its skilled divers and people with a passion for ocean conservation.
Lieber said they are always looking for volunteers and for those interested they can check out their website or their Facebook page.
“Roughly 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed every year by becoming entangled in fishing gear,” said Lieber. “ODA wants to do what we can to get that number down.”
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While ODA isn’t a worldwide organization, they have active chapters in southern California, Oahu, the Big Island and most recently Maui.