WAIKIKI - Despite clean up efforts, trash continues to plague the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

"It's a mess," said Mike DeBone, who lives at the boat harbor. "Every time it rains, you can practically walk across the harbor." 

Even on a normal day, rubbish is scattered along the surface of the water. On Wednesday, our crews spotted countless water battles, tennis shoes, slippers, plastic straws and other debris piling up near some of the boat slips.

"You have little places like this where it just constantly collects. You watch people looking at the fish near the little drain where the lagoon is and the fish are swimming around all kinds of plastic and bottles, it's just crazy," DeBone said of how the trash impacts sea life.

The harbor is owned by the state and maintained by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). Environmental groups periodically host clean-ups and there is a trash trap near the Ala Wai Bridge, but it doesn't catch everything. What isn't caught either washes into the ocean or ends up in the harbor. Part of the problem is that DLNR said it doesn't have the resources to constantly maintain cleaning it.

DeBone wants to see regular clean up patrols. He explained, "If you keep on it, on a day-to-day basis, then I think we won't have this issue where you have this massive amount of trash and then it's this major effort to clean it." 

Others suggest setting aside tourism dollars to help clean the harbor. "I see the harbor littered with all sorts of detritus and waste products and what not, and the thought comes to mind, 'Why can't you use tourism dollars to skim it and clean it?," said Rob Freiden, who's visiting from Pennsylvania. "It's a bit of an eyesore." 

Najla Janes is visiting from San Francisco. She was shocked to see so much trash. "This is very upsetting, incredibly upsetting," Janes said while looking at the trash and debris. "I think it's the responsibility of some of the hospitality conglomerates that you have here. I think some of the tourism money should definitely go into cleaning this up."

DLNR said the public should be more aware of how actions up mauka can impact our streams and oceans. The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) could not comment on the possibility of using tourism dollars to fund clean up efforts.