No Dumping – Drains to Ocean

Author: Amy Fonarow

On Friday March 2nd  in Honokowai, Maui Ocean Center supported West Maui Kumuwai in their mission to show how land-based pollution is entering our ocean – and what we all can do to reduce it.

A lot of people don’t yet realize that the things they wash into the gutter are headed straight for the ocean, with no filtration at all. Think about engine oil, paint, the soap you use to wash your car, and even the soda you may dump onto the street; do you want to swim in that?

West Maui Kumuwai’s Liz Foote and Tova Callender gave us all a tutorial, a bucket of supplies and, of course – an all-important stencil! The image we were to spray onto the ground depicts a Hawaii reef triggerfish in motion, surrounded by the words “No Dumping/Drains To Ocean.”

Volunteers were split into teams of 3 or 4, and each team was given a select area to canvas. We began to walk.

Storm Drain Stencil

Every time we came across a storm drain, we cleaned off a square of sidewalk nearby, made our humuhumunukunukuapua’a mark, and fanned the fish so it could dry.

Storm Drain Stencil

As we made our way down the street – literally looking back on our work – we smiled, imagining the pollution that would not make its way to the sea because of our new signs.

West Maui Kumuwai’s tagline is always relevant at their volunteer events, and that Friday was no exception:  “If we each do a little, we can all do a lot.”

Maui Ocean Center will be helping West Maui Kumuwai again on Saturday April 14th – this time starting in Napili Plaza at 9:00 am – and we hope you’ll come out to make your mark along with us! (FYI, coffee and breakfast will be included for you – thanks to The Coffee Store and Maui Tacos in Napili.) Each volunteer will also receive two free passes to the Aquarium of Hawaii – Maui Ocean Center!

Storm Drain Stencil

Here’s some tips for your storm-drain-stenciling trip:

Expect to get dirty and break a sweat. Wear knock-around clothes and bring water.

When creating a stencil, hold your spray can about one foot above the pavement. That distance will provide the solid coverage you need to make the statement readable.

Don’t let the front of the stencil hit the ground; the congealing paint will pick up pieces of dirt and plants, and removing those will add to the paint on your hands. (We thought the stencil was safe taped to a sheet of cardboard and propped against a brick wall, but a gust of wind came through to show us otherwise!)

Feel free to feel good about your handiwork when you’re done!

For more information and to RSVP, e-mail WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or call/text (808) 283-1631.

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