Fernando, a tireless hero

We humans are strange. I don’t know of any other living being on earth that does so
deals horribly with nature and the environment like humans. He not only exploits our earth massively, he also poisons it with his filth. He simply throws all of his produced garbage into the environment without ever having thought about the damage he is doing with it. According to the motto: out of sight out of mind. We speak of „cycles of nature“ etc., but we do not want it to be true that this bad deed of us humans returns fully and directly to ourselves and hits us hard. Because this is the cycle of nature!

Tourist in the middle of the garbage  ©Foto: Gérard Koch, 2017

Hawaii is a dreamlike paradise in the Pacific Ocean. Already in 1967, after barely 8 years under the United States government, Hawaii reached the first million tourists, especially since around 7 million visitors from all over the world travel there every year. But Hawaii has a major environmental problem due to these tourists and its geographical location, which one is happy to suppress. My wife and I were able to experience this ourselves in 2017 in Kahului, Maui on the beach. The whole beach was overflowing with plastic, microplastics, old fishing nets and other garbage. Warning signs for swimming were also appropriate. In short, we decided to collect the rubbish on this small stretch of beach.

Collecting the waste – ©Foto: Gérard Koch, Dez.2017

In order to perhaps document the understanding with a few numbers, I have given just two examples:

The smoker habitually throws the rest of the cigarette onto the street, into the river or wherever after his satisfaction. The world is the biggest ashtray. Although cigarette consumption is declining in Europe, 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked worldwide every year (2011 figure), 4.5 trillion of them are being carelessly thrown away. In terms of weight, this means that 1 million cigarettes weigh exactly 1 ton. This is about 5 million tons of cigarette waste in nature every year. Human mortality from smoking every year is around 6 million people. One cigarette contains 4,800 chemicals, including 250 poisons (as of April 3, 2018, SZ.de), 50 of which are carcinogenic. The other chemicals are still under investigation. The cigarette filter is made robust by chemical processes during manufacture and takes 10 to 15 years to dismantle. If a cigarette butt comes into contact with water, it contaminates 200 liters of it and, through chemical reactions, generates around 7,000 poisons in the water, which does not benefit wildlife and nature. In the water, the filter decomposes into its microplastics, which is taken up by the plankton (microorganisms in the water), which in turn is the basic food of the fish, which we, the fish, in turn consume. A great cycle, I only wish you a good appetite!

Another example is plastic:

The oceans and the sea are used by our society, industry and government as cheap dumps. Studies estimate that 675 tons of garbage are disposed of directly into the sea every hour, half of which is plastic. The dismantling of the plastic, one is amazed, takes about 500 years. Almost 1.5 million tons of plastic were produced each year in the 1950s, today it is almost 400 million tons. Let’s take the 128-year-old company Coca-Cola, which produces over 100 billion plastic bottles a year. This is about 3,400 bottles per second! According to the Greenpeace studio, 60% of these are single-use bottles that can be found in any way in nature and the ocean.

Researched and registered by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in the sea every year. The ocean currents then create the giant new plastic continents in the middle of the oceans, which cost around 135,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds each year. The best known new continent is the „Great Pacific Garbage Patch“ in the North Pacific between Hawaii and California.


We humans urgently need to be more careful, gentle and close to nature with our environment and nature, because we have only one earth, where we all live together. We have to do something as soon as possible and clean up and detoxify our landfill. If we can all throw something on the floor, we can all pick something up from the floor, right? Let’s do this as our new sport.

Born in Mexico, Fernando, who has lived in Hawaii for 20 years, took this to heart. When he walked along the Ala Wai boat harbor and saw the splendid, colorful fish swimming in the immense pollution, he took the initiative and began cleaning the harbor basin from debris. Without an order from the city or the community, he goes to the port in Honolulu once or twice a week after his 100% job to clear the debris. Instead of being grateful for his free, hard work, the government put stones in his way and tried to prevent him from cleaning the water. Regardless of this, Fernando goes his way and not only cleans this port in Honolulu, but extends it to the island and cleans nature with great diligence. We should all be grateful to him and support him in this. One possibility would be to help him or to start freeing the environment from civilization ballast in the area, on his own doorstep. Fernando is a great role model for me, a hero. He shows us what to do and opens our eyes. My request to you, dear reader, please become active like Fernando. Support him wherever you can, be it financially or just that his social media community is growing, which you can find here:
Instargram: @greenmanhawaii
facebook: Green Man Hawaii

Mahalo nui to Hawaii Volcanic

My contribution to him is that as soon as I can fly back to Hawaii, I will keep my promise to Fernando and help him fish the garbage out of the water for a day or two. I will also suggest him as a real hero at the organization at Trash Hero World, so that he may also get support from there.

A huge thank you and Mahalo nui to Fernando, as well as an appreciation for everything he does. Fernando, is a hero!





Bericht über Coca-Cola
Die Welt-Zeitschrift über Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola Schweiz
Global Citizen über den Abfall in Hawaii
United Nations Environment Programme
Pollution in Honolulu
Oceanservice – Plankton 
Australien Museum – Plankton


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