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Our battle with microplastics that are flooding the world’s oceans is well documented. They are such a concern to the health of our planet and the actual physical health of humans that scientists will dig through human poop to see how prevalent they are in our food chain. Spoiler alert: the results are not encouraging.

Meanwhile, on the North Shore of Oahu and less than 10 miles from the world’s most popular wave, sits Hawaii’s most polluted beach and a pretty intriguing campaign to clean it all up. Led by the non-profit Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a group of local volunteers gathered for a beach cleanup targeting the microplastics problem. “How in the world can people clean microplastics off the beach,” you might ask?

In 2015, the organization hosted a contest to design and build something capable of separating microplastics from the sand on the beach. The winning design was appropriately dubbed the Sand Sifter. Fast forward to this past Saturday, an army of volunteers, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and Parley for the Oceans got together, armed with five of these inventions.

“Kahuku Beach is rarely ever visited by humans but our existence is evident in the billions of pieces of microplastic littering the once beautiful sand,” Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii told The Inertia. “We removed around 1,000 pounds of microplastic and left piles of beautiful clean sand. But like we said earlier, this is only temporary help. We really need to focus on the source. Stop making so much plastic.”


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