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The Great Cleanup

January 12, 2012
The Maui Weekly

The papers say all that junk will hit the islands in a few months.

I don't know if it will land on all the islands at the same time, or one by one before it arrives at Maui.

Hundreds of shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, liquid detergent containers, plastic forks and spoons from fast food, and more, the unrecognizable detritus from the tsunami, most of it covered with cartoons and advertising slogans in Japanese, will be deposited on our shores before the water heaves a sigh and swirls its way back to Asia. Then it will be a Hawaiian problem.

I see it now. On each beach a long table with a retired lady in a lawn chair. As she repeats instructions, she will point out the locations of the port-a-potties and rest stations, water coolers and Gatorade, hand each volunteer a half dozen black plastic lawn bags and a sticker that reads "The Great Cleanup: I Helped" printed with a cartoon of the shaka hand sign making a thumbs up. Nodding, she'll say "This is for you, mahalo, thank you."

Jill Jennings Kihei



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