Nearly all sea turtle species are now classified as endangered. World Sea Turtle Day, recognized annually on June 16, is a day to celebrate and protect these phenomenal creatures. The date was chosen in recognition of Dr. Archie Carr, known as “The Father of Sea Turtle Biology,” who dedicated his career to sea turtle research and conservation. Having been around for many centuries, sea turtles have remained essentially unchanged. However, the future of our sea turtles is becoming increasingly uncertain.

By taking steps to protect our storm water, we are also helping to protect sea turtles and their habitats. There are a variety of ways that storm water protection supports the health of sea turtles and their habitats, from proper waste disposal to using eco-friendly products. Here are some trash-free tips that you can use to care for these unique animals and their homes this World Sea Turtle Day!


  1. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics. Reuse plastic bottles, containers, and other items to decrease your waste production. Once they can no longer be used, put the recyclable items into your blue bin provided by the City & County of Honolulu or take them to a HI-5 redemption or multi-material recycling center.
  2. Combat littering. Litter—no matter what kind—is dangerous to the environment. At home, be sure that all waste is disposed of properly in designated trash bins. Most houses and buildings have separate spaces for recyclables, green waste, and combustible trash. On Oahu, these are the blue (recyclables), green (leaves, lawn clippings) and gray (combustible waste) bins that get emptied on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Be sure to break down any large boxes or items to ensure the lid can close completely. This helps prevent items from falling out and potentially being swept into storm drains and the ocean.
  3. Choose eco-friendly products. Avoid plastic bags, utensils, straws, and other products. Turtles sometimes mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and end up ingesting them. This indigestible material can get stuck in their bodies and result in illness or starvation. When possible, choose products that are reusable, compostable, biodegradable, or made from sustainable materials.
  4. Lower risks. Sometimes, plastic products are necessary. If you do need to use plastic, be sure to take preventative measures when disposing of them. For example, you should always cut the rings of six-pack can holders before throwing them away to prevent turtles from getting their heads or legs caught in them.
  5. Learn more. Learn about our local honu (sea turtles) and more ways you can help protect them by visiting us at Sea Life Park on Sunday, June 23, 2024, to celebrate National Sea Turtle Day. We’ll be in front of our Storm Water Hawaii boards (near the keiki playground) to talk about storm water and the importance of going trash free here in Hawaii.

World Sea Turtle Day reminds us to take extra steps to protect our honu. Together, we can make a positive impact and build a brighter future for these beloved creatures.

Sources: MarineBio, Sea Turtle Preservation Society, City & County of Honolulu