Our island home is known for its beautiful, picturesque coastlines. Many of our keiki (children) have grown up on these beaches, and our state relies on a healthy ocean for the wellbeing of its communities. However, Hawai‘i's coastlines have become increasingly plagued with plastic and other marine debris—and nowhere in the state is this issue more visible than on the Big Island's southeast shoreline.

The coast lining South Point is one of the island's most remote areas. There, currents and trade winds often bring trash, plastics, commercial fishing equipment, and other debris to the shore, much of it coming from distant sources including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Hawaiian Airlines has been committed to supporting nonprofit organizations that protect the environment in Hawai'i and the markets we serve. Our latest collaboration took place this past September, when we furthered our partnership with New Zealand nonprofit Sea Cleaners to bring over a dozen inspiring high-school activists from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the Hawaiian Islands to mālama the Big Island. 

Team Kokua
Team Kōkua on South Point for the Sea Cleaners beach cleanup. Pictured L to R: Reid Shigeoka from KOA airport station, Debbie Nakanelua-Richards of community and cultural relations, Karen MacMillan of Australia sales and partnerships, Marissa Villegas of external communications, and ‘Iwalani Kaho‘ohanohano of internal communications.


In recognition of International Coastal Cleanup Day 2019, the group was given a weeklong itinerary focused on spreading awareness about the impacts plastics and "mindless" consumerism has on Hawai‘i. Our employee volunteer group Team Kōkua joined the Sea Cleaners youth, along with the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, Billabong Australia and Hawai‘i Tourism, to do an extensive daylong sweep at South Point.

Need help imaging just how dirty these beaches are? Take the quiz below to get a snapshot of the impact volunteers made in just one morning: