The issue of educating the public about keeping Hawaii’s storm water drains clear of all debris, garbage, and chemicals will take front and center at a Department of Transportation, Highways Division, Oahu District (DOT-HWYS) display at Sea Life Park in November.
The display will be unveiled on November 8, the same day the park celebrates its rollback day, where admission prices will go back to what they were when the park opened 50 years ago.
The three-sided display will be located near the Touch Pool, and will be comprised of banners and large illustrated posters that illustrate the importance of keeping Hawaii’s storm water drains clear of everything but rainwater.
On one side of the display is an illustration of how rainwater falls onto the island, and how excess water goes down the storm drains and directly into the ocean. Facts and figures explain how pollutants can affect the environment, as well as how the DOT-HWYS manages storm water runoff.
The second display shows a map of Sea Life Park, and points out the various aquatic species featured at the park that can be adversely affected by pollutants and debris. The displays illustrate that monk seals, sea turtles, and coral reefs can all be harmed by garbage and chemicals that enter into our storm drains.
The third display shows how seabirds are at risk from plastic soda rings and bags, as well as discarded fishing line and other trash found on beaches and in the ocean. Using stark pictures of the effect these microplastics have on seabirds will help convey the message to keep our oceans and beaches debris-free. This display will also have a QR code leading to a pledge page that gives visitors concrete ideas for things they can personally do to keep our storm drains clear.
Hopefully the display will educate residents about the importance of storm water drains to our island’s infrastructure, and how easily they can be abused. By illustrating what can happen when debris is allowed to go into the storm drain system, residents may be inspired to become more aware of the dangers, and do what they can for the environment.