World Oceans Day 2017

World Oceans Day 2017

Sarah Zweng — June 13, 2017

One of the most fun and rewarding days at Liquid Robotics is World Oceans Day, a global celebration with hundreds of events around the world aimed at protecting and conserving our world’s oceans. This year, our Sunnyvale team made our annual pilgrimage to Pacifica to work with Lynn Adams from Pacifica Beach Coalition, a volunteer-driven community with a collective passion for protecting and preserving our ocean, beaches, creeks, wildlife and native habitats. She put us to work cleaning up Sharp Park Beach and doing habitat restoration at Rockaway Beach.

At Sharp Park Beach, we divided into groups and spread out to cover the pier, parking lot and along the beach. In total we picked up 929 cigarette butts, 50 lbs. of trash, 12 lbs. of wood (not driftwood) and 8 lbs. of hard plastics. The cigarette butts and hard plastics are separated out for recycling purposes. Did you know that cigarette butts are the most common toxic waste found in cleanups? And contrary to popular belief, they do not decompose completely, releasing toxic chemicals that are a threat to our aquatic ecosystems.

Moving on from Sharp Park, we went to Rockaway Beach where we were equipped with shovels, shears, rakes, picks and gloves to attack a hillside overgrown with mustard, thistle, wild radish, ox tongue and other non-native invasive species. In just over an hour, our crew hauled off tarp after tarp full of the offensive plants, leaving only native species behind.

In Hawaii, our Kawaihae team worked with the Nature Conservancy on removal of invasive species in Puako Bay—the birthplace of the Wave Glider! The focus of the event was the removal of the Roi fish (or Peacock grouper), a non-native invasive species that threaten the health of the reef. Teams of Liquid Robotics and Nature Conservancy divers spent several hours diving in support of the invasive species removal process. Meanwhile, those who did not dive conducted a beach cleanup effort on Panuai Beach.

All in all, cleanup days are a great way to bond over a common cause and a great excuse to spend a day at the ocean!