Inspiring Hawaii’s youth to make a difference is one of the best ways to prevent storm water pollution. Teaching the keiki in your community how to identify pollutants and be environmentally friendly will allow them to start positive habits early on.

The island’s storm drain system is designed to efficiently carry rainwater off roadways to prevent flooding. However, in doing so, storm water runoff can often carry debris and pollutants through the storm drain system and release them directly into the streams or the ocean. Because storm water runoff is not treated, preventing storm water pollution is critical to the health of our environment.

Start with the basics:

  • Explain Storm Water: Storm water is the water runoff from when rain runs through streets and sidewalks, entering storm drains. When storm water flows through street drains, it discharges to nearby waterways like canals or streams. These waterways direct water downstream and the storm water will eventually enter the oceans.
  • Identify Pollutants: Pollutants include anything that will contaminate the environment and render the water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming, and other activities. This may include debris or substances that don’t naturally belong in the environment, or are natural but are present in excessive quantities. Pollutants may include trash, dog poop, chemicals used on our lawn and gardens, dirt, oils, and greases from our cars. This can even include natural debris, such as green waste and grass clippings.

How to Help:

  • Keep nearby waters clean.
    • Pick up after your animals – use pet bags to prevent animal waste from entering nearby storm drains. Properly secure the waste bags and dispose of them in the trash.
    • Prevent runoff from leaving your property so that there is less risk that will cause flooding downstream and flush pollutants into storm drains. Install rain barrels or a rain garden!
    • Use local car washes, or wash your car on grass instead of in the street or driveway. This will allow soap, oil, and chemicals to be disposed of properly, or to be caught by plants rather than flow into storm drains.
    • If you must put water down the drain, be sure that the water you put down the drain is clean – only liquids like those from natural or potable water sources, and not contaminated with chemicals such as paints or fertilizers.

Hawaii Storm Patrol

Keiki can also join the Hawaii Storm Patrol! Did you know Storm Water Hawaii hosts an online learning series that teaches keiki about Hawaii’s storm drain system? The series highlights the importance of preventing litter, debris, chemicals, and other pollutants from entering storm drains. This curriculum also includes extra activity sheets and instructor guides.


Storm Water Hawaii – About

Storm Water Hawaii – Individuals & Families

Harvard School of Public Health – Water Pollution

Storm Water Hawaii – What You Can Do

Storm Water Hawaii – DIY Rain Barrel

Hawaii Storm Patrol