Each month, Nudi Wear hosts a cleanup up on Oahu where volunteers come out to combine forces to remove new and old debris that is polluting the waters of Hawaii. One of our most frequented locations is Point Panic. Point Panic is a dive site located on the South Shore of Oahu just outside of Waikiki. It is often used as a training location for dive shops and a favorite easy shore dive for the local diving community.

Each month, our  volunteers work together to remove any new trash that has appeared as well as chip away at some of the larger and heavier items that remain in spite of our continued effort to clean up this location. One common item that takes a lot of effort to remove is tires. You would be surprised at the amount of tires in the ocean in Hawaii. Over the past three and a half years, we have removed 144 tires from the ocean and near shore waters of Oahu. Shockingly, 29 of those tires came from this one dive site!  Tires are especially harmful to the reef for a number of reasons. As tires degrade, they leach harmful chemicals such as heavy metals into the water. Very little will grow on tires. Most of the tires we find are completely free of any growth. Instead, they take up space on the ocean floor, preventing coral from growing in that location.  Tires are also relatively light, in terms of creating an artificial reef. Large surges can cause the tires to move, crushing the reef in the process. Due to the dangers associated with having so many tires in one area, we have made it a goal to remove as many as possible.

On Saturday, August 26th, 2023, we had 15 show up eager to spend some time in the water. After a quick safety briefing, buddy groups headed out in search of debris. A few of our long term volunteers have been working to free a large tire for the past several dives and were determined today was going to be the day! This time they showed up prepared. They used Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs) and lift bags to safely remove the 140 pound tire. Luckily it was high tide and conditions were calm, making the task of getting the tire out of the water and up the stairs a little easier. Not only did they remove the tire they were aiming for, but also managed to remove 2 more!

Nudi Wear volunteer Jim Sowa using a lift bag to remove a tire from the ocean in Hawaii
Nudi Wear Volunteers removing a tire from the ocean at Point Panic in Oahu

We found a lot more than just tires on the dive. We also found a large parasailing banner, an emesis basin, a skateboard deck, a helmet, a bra, and 6 socket wrenches. We also removed a lot of the usual single use plastics, aluminum cans, glass bottles, and fishing industry waste.

Nudi Wear volunteers sorting debris removed from the ocean in Hawaii
Nudi Wear volunteer showing off unusual trash found during a cleanup dive

In total, we removed an impressive 311 pounds of harmful waste from the ocean floor and reef. Even though we removed 3 more tires from the ocean in Hawaii, there are still a seemingly endless amount more to go. Our hopes are high and our ambitions are strong. We are determined to one day dive Point Panic and not find a single piece of trash. Until then, we invite you to join us on our cleanups. Our next Point Panic cleanup is scheduled for September 9th. Hope to see you there!