Trash and Debris

Cleanups of the lake by volunteers from the community conducted three to four times a year over the last decade have removed literally tons material from the lake. In an effort to understand where all this garbage is coming from, a log was kept of the types of debris collected during the last 5 cleanups. By looking at this information, it is clear that a large portion of debris is vegetative waste from yard clippings, tree trimmings and wind-blown material.

A large percentage of the greenwaste consists of coconuts and coconut fronds. Another significant (by weight) source of trash is wooden debris from old floats and discarded construction materials. While some of this is obviously from lake residents (old barges and floats) much of it appears to wash into the lake through the many storm drains and channels.

Every cleanup also produces bag after bag of urban trash including plastic bottles, cans, balls and fast food containers. Most of this material appears to come directly from the storm drains. For example, in the wetland area alone, during 2005 over 400 spray paint cans were removed.

All of the above types of garbage float. An exception to this was found during one cleanup when volunteer efforts were concentrated at the mouth of the lake entering Kaelepulu canal. Here a side drainage channel enters from downtown Enchanted Lake and the bottom of the canal has shoaled to a shallow depth. From this location, we removed more than 20 tires and large amounts of debris such as rags, cans, bicycle parts, and other items that obviously entered from the drainage canal.

While most of the clean-ups concentrate on floating debris, it is obvious that a large proportion of trash enters the lake and sinks to the bottom where it is undetected and difficult to remove.