John Lund/Getty Images/Blend Images
June 04, 2016

If you need another reason to recycle, take a look at this new study of the Hawaiian Islands. In short, it revealed that garbage is accumulating on the shores of the stunning beaches due to human waste disposal habits.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials released an aerial survey that showed most of the trash is from fishing gear and plastics discarded locally and the island of Niihau had the most rubbish with almost 8,000 pieces of garbage. Surprisingly, Oahu, the state's most populated island, had the least amount of trash of only 1,000 pieces.

Initially it was thought the debris could be a result of the March 2011 tsunami that hit Japan, but the evidence from this study proved otherwise. "This survey found a very limited amount of debris associated with the Japan tsunami," said Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the Department of Land & Natural Resources. "Most of what was mapped is common, everyday items that someone haphazardly tossed onto the ground or directly into the water."

The survey, which was commissioned by the Department of Land & Natural Resources and North Pacific Marine Science Organization, is using the results to determine a better plan at preventing the build up."In order to characterize the potential ecological consequences of tsunami and other debris, it's important to quantify it," said Kirsten Moy, the state's marine debris coordinator. "Understanding the types, sizes and locations of debris accumulating on Hawaiian coastlines is crucial in developing plans to streamline removal and mitigate negative impacts."

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