Hawaii is a major tourist destination, receiving visitors from all parts of the world. Over 6 million people visit the beautiful islands every year. As Islanders, we love to share our beautiful home with these visitors. But the high volume of tourists and the growing resident population also comes with a price.
With the increasing number of people on the islands comes more concern over the environment and preserving it for the reasons we love Hawaii so much. We see more litter on our beaches and in the streets. Ground water is becoming contaminated with pollution and running off into coastal waters. And ocean acidification is causing coral and other organisms to die off or move to other parts of the ocean.
The State of Hawaii is aware of all these issues and concerns, and is taking a lead role into preserving the environment. Various conservation programs have already been set up to protect our land and ocean.
Hanauma Bay is just one example. Hanauma Bay was set up as a “protected marine life conservation area” in 1967. Everyone entering the Bay is required to watch a short film educating them on the marine life and preservation of the area.
The University of Hawaii has also set up an Environmental Center which researches issues like wastewater management, solid waste disposal, land use, and energy development. And they direct that information to agencies and organizations responsible for facilitating programs that will help in those areas.
The Polynesian Hostel is also joining in this conservation initiative by making small environmental changes around the property. The hostel has always been known to create a fun and unique place to hang out. But now we’re striving to be environmentally safe while doing it.
Our recently installed rain barrels collect rainwater, which is used to keep the garden beautiful and create a pleasant green space for the enjoyment of our guests. This will allow the hostel to cut down on water consumption used from the city.
All light bulbs and appliances installed are energy efficient LED. And all cleaning products are eco-friendly.
We limit paper products to toilet paper and necessary office paper only. All kitchen items are intended to be washed and re-used. In addition, we provide re-usable shopping bags for our guests to use. We try to recycle as much as possible with our limited resources.
The hostel will also be making available for purchase Oxybenzone Free Sunscreens. The use of these types of sunscreens are being encouraged as they are free of all chemicals that can be harmful to our reefs.
These are just a few of the ways the Polynesian Hostel has integrated conservation and education into our daily lives. More programs and ideas are currently being developed and will be integrated very soon.
What We Can Do
As visitors to the islands, you may feel there’s not much you can do to help with the environmental concerns here. There is. And if we all work together, we can make a huge impact on Hawaii’s delicate environment.
Some of the smallest tasks we can do can make a big difference. It could be as simple as picking up trash when you see it. Leave the parks and beaches cleaner than you found them. Carry a garbage bag with you when hiking to make sure you carry out everything you carried in. Try not to pick the flowers or take anything from the ocean. And be sure to keep your distance from any protected species, like sea turtles and monk seals.
Doing these simple tasks, we’re helping to preserve the islands. And when our kids and grandkids visit the islands years from now, they’ll be able to experience the same beauty we did. They’ll be able to experience the same crystal clear waters, litter-free beaches, and amazing underwater marine life.
Image by: www.worldfortravel.com [image removed due to copyright concerns]