Every Day Actions for Healthier Reefs
  Whether you live on an island, near the coast, or in the heart of the mainland, you can help conserve & protect coral reefs by practicing these everyday actions. Help make a positive difference by becoming part of the solution where ever you are!
  As part of your lifestyle, please:  
  • Avoid using styrofoam and plastic.   Plastic and styrofoam are particularly harmful for the marine ecosystem.  Not only are styrofoam and plastic the biggest source of pollution on our beaches, they break down into small pieces that are mistaken for food by marine animals, birds and fish. Once swallowed, they either act as a poison or fill the stomach causing reduced appetite and nutrient absorption. In time, this leads to a slow starvation.

    According to the Alguita Research Institute (http://www.alguita.com), the ratio of plastics to plankton (a major food source for many marine animals) in the oceans is currently 6:1 and rapidly increasing.  

    Compostable disposables, made from readily renewable resources like sugarcane and corn, are a sustainable and ecofriendly alternative because they are both compostable & biodegradable.  Using biodegradable and ecofriendly alternatives ensures you are doing your part to conserve and protect Hawaii's marine organisms.

    Hawaii-based company Styrophobia offers ecofriendly, biodegradable alternatives to plastic and styrofoam. Please check out their website: http:www.stryophobia.com . You can contact them at [email protected] or call 808-BE GREEN  (808-234-7336).

    Reef Check Hawaii supports the use of products distributed by Styrophobia.  Please check out their website for product information and convenient purchasing locations. 
  • Just say no to plastic bags.  Plastic bags litter our beaches and are hazardous to marine life. A little effort can go a long way. Please bring your own reusable bag to the grocery.  Reef Check Hawaii's fundraising partners Greenraising.com, EcolabelFundraising.com have reuseable bags for sale. Every purchase from these companies donates money to Reef Check Hawaii-- so your purchase not only helps the environment, but it also supports RCH!
  • Reduce your carbon footprint. Increased water temperatures due to global warming causes coral bleaching and eventually, coral death. Turn off your lights when they are not in use. Switch your bulbs to compact fluorescent. Go to Http://www.lowimpactliving.com OR Http://www.sierraclub.org/twopercent to find out other ways you can have less of an impact on the environment on a daily basis.

  • Plant a tree! Plant 10 trees! . Offset your carbon emissions by giving back to the environment. Trees slow runoff and absorb carbon dioxide and other nutrients that would otherwise runoff into the ocean. Live in an apartment and don't have space to plant a tree? No problem! .Volunteer to help community groups plant trees. Donate native trees to help community groups with their reforestation and erosion mitigation efforts. 
carbon footprint small

low impact living

Sierra Club 2% logo

  • Demand environmental stewardship from our government! Don't let government agencies stray from following environmental regulations. Stay informed about existing and proposed laws, programs, and projects that affect local and global reef ecosystems, fisheries, and marine life. Support and vote for representatives and leaders who recognize the importance of making ecologically wise decisions.
  • Make choices for healthy oceans! Marine resources are not inexhaustible! When eating seafood, choose fish that have been fished sustainably. Your consumer choices make a difference. For information on who you should keep off your dinner plate. Download Monterey Bay Aquarium's 2008 National, Hawaiian and Sushi Seafood Guides.

  • Earth Day everyday: clean your beach, stream or storm drains! Marine debris and trash are one of the greatest threats Hawaiian marine life and reefs are faced with. Always pick up and properly dispose of your own trash, but why not take it a step further? Help clean up the environment by cleaning up plastic and trash that have washed ashore, been left behind, or disposed of improperly. Join a local beach cleanup, or volunteer to be part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Visit the Reef Check Hawaii GCalendar for our Earth Day activity.
  • If you smoke, please, throw your butts away! Or better yet, why not try quitting?  Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. As they degrade, they release toxic compounds into the environment, poisoning wildlife and contaminating our drinking water.
  • Conserve water. By reducing the amount of water you use, you reduce the amount of runoff and wastewater that eventually finds its way back into the ocean. Check out marine artist and conservationist, Wyland's book, 101 Ways to Conserve Water or visit the Water use it wisely website for 100 tips on how to save water, links to important websites and resources to help you become more water conscious, as well as links for state, regional and national programs in water conservation
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  • All drains lead to the ocean. Please don't use your drain as a dump! Be conscientious of what you're putting down the drain. Recycle used motor oil and transmission fluid. Dispose of other chemical pollutants and household toxins properly. Find a drop off location near you Http://earth911.org
Earth 911
  • Recycle! A little effort goes a long way. Reduce the amount of waste you produce by reusing and recycling. If your community doesn't have a recycling program, make the effort to start one! Learn more by visiting Http://earth911.org to find out what you can recycle and where you can drop it off!
  • Report illegal dumping. Please take the time to report illegal dumping activities.

        Illegal Dumping In Progress
                 Honolulu Police Department: call 911
                 Environmental Protection Agency: (808)-541-2721
        State of Hawaii
                Department of Health Solid and Hazardous Waste: (808)-586-4226
                Department of Health Clean Water Branch:: (808)-586-4309  (If dumping occurs near water)
        City and County of Honolulu
                Environmental Concern Line: (808)-768-3300
                Department of Facility Maintenance (potential flood problem): (808)-768-7890
                Department of Planning and Permitting (residential code): (808)-768-8159



  • Only buy marine aquarium fish if you know they have been collected in an ecologically sound manner, or have been tank-bred. Many marine fish harvested for the aquarium trade are often done so using destructive methods such as cyanide or dynamite fishing. You can ensure that your aquarium fish have been caught in an environmentally friendly way by purchasing them from Marine Aquarium Council certified dealers.
  • Promote the use of day-use moorings. Boat anchors can cause severe damage to coral reefs. Help minimize such damage by supporting the installation and use of public day-use moorings. Visit the Malama Kai Foundation to learn more.
  • Encourage & support reef-friendly, ecologically sound businesses. Inquire what your dive shop, tour operators, and other coastal businesses are doing to save coral reefs. Let them know you are an informed consumer and care about reefs.
  • Eat Organic! If it's healthy for you, it's healthy for the environment. Support farmers who grow their produce without chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Use non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies. Go to Low Impact Living to find a variety of home products that are healthy for you and the environment.
    Wash your car on the lawn, or take it to a commercial carwash. Your lawn will act as a natural filter and keep the suds out of the ocean and waterways. Commercial carwashes have to follow strict guidelines from the EPA for the proper disposal of wastewater.
  • Be a wastewater crusader. Make sure that sewage from your boat, from other boats, and from land is correctly treated. Nutrients from sewage act as fertilizers for algae that can smother and kill corals. Check out these Ten Tips For Clean and Green Boating.
  And in the water, please,...  
  • Don't Touch or Step on the Reef! Whether you are snorkeling or diving, be conscientious of the corals and sessile marine creatures around you. Although they are often mistaken as inanimate objects, corals are fragile, tiny, living animals that are easily killed when crushed by human fingers & toes, fin tips, or dragging dive gear.
  • Use A Floatation Device. Snorkelers often become tired and feel the need to stand on the reef to rest.
  • Don't Feed the Fish! Many reef fish eat algae that settle on coral reefs & would otherwise smother the corals. Feeding fish habituates the fish and disrupts the natural balance of the the reef ecosystem
  • Wear Waterproof Sunscreen. Regular sunscreen washes off in the water causing chemical pollution that results in coral bleaching.
  • Support Sustainable Ecotourism. When vacationing, hire local guides when diving or snorkeling on coral reefs. By endorsing a non-consumptive economy around the reef you will be protecting the future of the reef and its wildlife. For responsible ecotourism tips, check out Sustainable Travel International.
  • Stay informed and interact responsibly! When visiting coral reefs, do your part to keep them healthy by respecting local guidelines, regulations, and customs. Ask local authorities or tourism operators how you can protect the reef.
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