HONOLULU (KHON2) — Armed with more than two thousand volunteers, the group Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i hosted it’s annual Earth Day cleanup festival today. This time zeroing in on Waimanalo.

“We’ve been out here since 6 a.m. setting up at the beach park” said Rafael Bergstrom, Executive Director for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. “We had just over 2,000 volunteers come out and join us today. Not only to clean the beach and remove all the microplastic. But to do plant restoration on the beach dunes.”

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Bergstrom said volunteers removed over 2,500 pounds of debris and millions of tiny particles of microplastic buried in the sand. Small steps for big solutions.

“These tiny actions that they can take and then have a conversation with another community member about.,” said Bergstrom. “Those are the things that actually make a really really big change and especially when it’s a proactive step.”

As part of the day’s event today there were more than three dozen booths, providing various products and information on the environment — one of them set up by 15-year-old Genshu Price.

Price is the founder of the organization Bottles4College, who today announced he’ll be handing out his first scholarship this year after collecting more than one million bottles and cans worth $50,000.

“That first $10,000 scholarship next year it’s gonna go to a lucky hard-working Hawaii student,” said Price.  “And this is because we want to have a continuous program. We want to make sure we have enough to build on for next year, so that we could offer an even bigger scholarship”. 

Price said his ultimate goal, like that of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, is empowering people and uniting communities to take care of the place we call home.

“And that in itself is a huge win,” said Bergstrom. “Because what we really want to do is give people the tools to learn and actually go onto their life and make changes.”

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“So to see people coming from all over the place here in Waimanalo, informing the deeper community that was the biggest success,” said Bergstrom.