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How a local designer is trying to make fashion ethical

Cerro Haute is a clothing line dedicated to cleaning up pollution in Honolulu

By Charissa Porter

Apr 22, 2021


One man is taking on the environmental crisis in Hawai'i with his fashion line.

Cerro Haute founder and CEO Mauricio Garcia and volunteers remove trash from the ocean, particularly around the Ala Wai and Honolulu harbor, in exchange for purchases from the Cerro haute store.

Customers can also purchase a clean-up on his site as well.

Garcia, born and raised in Mexico, found his way to the islands and fell in love with the island's unique beauty. He was shocked at the amount of pollution he saw in the ocean and started to get involved in cleaning up the area. He decided to combine both his passion for fashion and his determination to clean up the pollution in the ocean.

When he launched his clothing line Cerro Haute, he decided that with every sale he made he pledged to pick up at least a pound of trash that was floating in the ocean or Ala Wai.

“Right now there is a $21 million dredging project, trash is still going into the ocean, and no one is really taking care of it. It's only cleaning of the sediments of the Ala Wai but the run of trash that has been flowing into the ocean for a long long time,” Garcia said.

Since he lives near the area he takes on the responsibility of cleaning out the pollution runoff that flows down the Ala Wai and into the harbor. Eventually going out into the ocean.

Garcia sometimes goes out to pick up pollution during his free time, unpaid. He says that he has found all types of things ranging from mattresses, needles, and styrofoam packaging.

“The Ala Wai Canal transmits catastrophic levels of pollution from surrounding urban areas into the sea. This pollution includes, but is not limited to, urban runoff (effluents), sewage (feces and urine), silt (discharged sedimentation), filth (blood and fluids), poisons (chemicals), and other junk (debris),” According to the Ala Wai Centennial. “Point sources for pollution include the impervious surfaces (buildings, streets, pavements) that cover approximately 87% of the urban area the Ala Wai Canal drains.”

Garcia suggests that some type of catchment is installed to help catch some of the pollution and could reduce the amount of plastic debris that enters the ocean from the Ala Wai. Currently, there are no future plans for the Ala Wai’s pollution problem.

However, according to the City and County of Honolulu, there are currently only discussions on furthering a bridge project.

Charissa Porter

Charissa Porter is a web editor for Hoʻā at UH Mānoa and former journalist...

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