Hawaii's newest beach is already polluted.    

"I kind of figured there was going to be plastic there, I didn't want to believe it when I saw it but I can't honestly say I was all that surprised," UH Hilo graduate Nic Vanderzyl said.

For his senior project, Nic Vanderzyl sampled sand from Pohoiki in December and found although the beach had been just four months old at the time, it already had half the amount of microplastics as Hilo Bay.  

"Essentially what happened at Pohoiki was you can kind of think of the sand as a giant filter where the water that contained the microplastics would run up onto the beach and as the water was going through the porous sand the sand was acting like a filter and catching all of the microplastics," Vanderzyl said.  

"What we don't know is what happens to those small fragments and how they affect our ecosystems because that small size is the size that keiki fish will be eating," UH Hilo Associate Professor Steve Colbert said.

Those involved with the project say the takeaway here is bringing to light just how much plastics are in our environment and perhaps change the way people use them.

"I think it kind of brings to light how severe of a problem we are really facing that there really needs to be a shift from single-use plastic," Vanderzyl said.