Marines and sailors with the Single Marine and Sailor Program volunteered their time July 13, 2013 to keep the island’s lush habitat and internationally-known beaches clean and healthy.
The volunteers teamed up with members of the Surfrider Foundation and other organizations to clean Sandy Beach in Honolulu. The group collected more than 400 pounds of debris.
Cpl. Diego Rancon, a radar work center supervisor with Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay and native of Elko, Nev., said he chose to attend the event because it is a good thing to do for the environment.
“I get to spend the day in the sun,” Rancon added. “And I get to see all the nice beaches while I’m here on Oahu. This is my fourth (beach cleaning) event, and I can always see the difference on how clean one beach is compared to the others. Today alone we picked up about 320 cigarette butts. The next time we come out we’ll only improve the beach’s condition.”
The group donned matching T-shirts and latex gloves, searching the beach and surrounding area for trash and other man-made materials polluting the environment.
“Since I visit Oahu’s beaches so often, I feel like I should volunteer to help clean them,” said Cpl. David Cox, a communication technician with MCAS and native of Forest Hill, Calif. “I have cleaned other beaches like Diamond Head, where we collected about 300 pounds of trash. It feels good at the end of the day to see the difference when we stacked up all the trash we collected.”
Rancon said volunteering to clean up Oahu’s beaches has other added benefits, like changing how the community views the military.
“It lets everyone know that we aren’t out here just doing military training,” Rancon said. “We are also here to help with community issues. I think us cleaning up the beaches has a very positive impact on how the locals interpret what we do here on the island.”
The positive impact Marines can have on the community makes important differences, Cox said.
“They need to know that we are here to help by cleaning up,” Cox said. “We take the time to help even though most of us aren’t from here. We do it out of respect for being here, and as a thanks for supporting us. More Marines should come out because it’s a good volunteer event. We get to spend time on the beach and it’s only two hours out of your day to make a difference.”