HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project cleaned up 53 tons of marine debris from the Hawaiian Atolls situated within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
The project had its second cleanup this year with the team returning to Honolulu on Sunday, Nov. 13. The debris included 64,000 pounds of ghost net removed from the reefs along with 32,530 pounds of ghost net and 9,125 pounds of ocean plastic debris removed from the shorelines.
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The team focused their work on Kapou [Lisianski Island], Manawai [Pearl and Hermes Atoll], Kuaihelani [Midway Atoll] and Hōlanikū [Kure Atoll].
PMDP cleaned up more than 1,600 acres of coral reef in the area, a span of area greater than the size of Diamond Head crater.
The cleanup expedition took place over a 30 day period and involved a 16-person team of free divers.
PMDP has a strategic five-year plan to remove the 57 tons of marine debris that accumulates each year in PMNM.
The team also salvaged a derelict lifeboat that had been abandoned on Manawai [Pearl and Hermes Atoll] for over a year. The lifeboat posed dangers for the marine life in the area due to leaked fuel, batteries, engine fluids and entrapment of sea birds.
According to PMDP, thousands of wildlife species live in the PMNM region.
A whopping 25 percent of all marine species located in the PMNM region can only be found in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Seventy percent of all tropical, shallow water coral reefs in the U.S. are located in the Hawaiian Archipelago.
Seventy-five percent of Hawaii’s length comes from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which are uninhabited.
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Over the last two years, PMDP has removed over half a billion pounds of marine debris the PMNM region.