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Ma‘alaea Storm Drain Stenciling Event

On Sunday, August 12th, Maui Ocean Center hosted a storm drain stenciling and cleanup event in Ma’alaea, Maui. Joined by community volunteers, the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute, and honored guest Mayor Alan Arakawa, the collaborative effort resulted in 18 stenciled storm drains and 2,827 pieces of collected trash.

Storm Drain Stencil Event - Mayor Alan ArakawaMayor Alan Arakawa, Aquarium staff, and Tommy Cutt of MOC Marine Institute work together on a storm drain stencil.

Storm drains were painted with a stenciled image of a humuhumunukunukuapua’a with “No Dumping – Drains to Ocean” to remind pedestrians that our storm drains lead directly to the ocean. Similar storm drain events have taken place island-wide from west Maui to Wailuku in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers that runoff pollution poses to coral reef ecosystems. This initiative was launched by the County of Maui with tremendous backing by volunteers and organizations like the Maui Ocean Center and West Maui Kumuwai.

Storm Drain Stencil Event - MOCMI Tommy Cutt with volunteersTommy Cutt assists volunteers with a storm drain stencil.

Maui Ocean Center extends a special mahalo to its volunteers and partners with the following words by General Manager, Tapani Vuori:

“As I think about what we accomplished today, it warms my heart to see our community working together to help clean our watershed and marine environment. It is especially gratifying that we are seeing this happen more often island-wide here on Maui. To me, it is this collective and collaborative responsibility for the better future that makes Maui such a special place to live in. I feel very fortunate to be able to call Maui home.

Storm Drain Stencil - MOC Tapani VuoriMaui Ocean Center General Manager Tapani Vuori leads the way to the next storm drain.

Most people do not realize that what goes into the stormwater drain goes directly to the ocean. Today’s event plays an important role in helping change that perception in the community. A big part of protecting our watershed and marine environment is to prevent rubbish of any kind from entering the streets, culverts, storm drains, etc. The sooner this intervention happens, the more effective it is in protecting our environment. Prevention is the key.

Storm Drain Stencil EventA slipper, glow-sticks, cigarette butts, and food packaging are among the 2,827 pieces of trash collected on Sunday.

So what can we do besides attending events like beach cleanups and storm drain stenciling events? Examine your own personal consumption – how much are you consuming and discarding on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Look for ways of reducing your environmental impact. This is a highly personal journey for all of us and thus the length and the velocity of that journey is different for each individual person.

Everything starts with the recognition that there is a problem that we will need to address sooner rather than later. We all bear responsibility in rectifying it. The journey starts today.”

Storm Drain Stencil Group PhotoMahalo to our volunteers, partners, and Mayor for your support!

Want to get involved? Sign-up for our online newsletter to be notified of upcoming cleanups or view Maui Ocean Center’s Volunteer Opportunities webpage. The Maui County website has additional information on what you can do to help.

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