200,000 pounds of plastic waste collected in latest ocean cleanup voyage

The crew of Kwai, the ship on the mission, arrived in Sausalito over the weekend after collecting waste polluting the ocean between Hawaii and California.

Crew member Teitera Turei showed KTVU items including toothbrushes, a spray bottle dispenser, a freezer from a boat and abandoned fishing gear.

"Our ocean is being besieged by plastic waste so we have to do everything we change that," said Mary Crowley, the founder of Ocean Voyages Institute, the nonprofit that started the cleanup voyages in 2009.

The Sausalito-based nonprofit said on this most recent trip to the North Pacific Garbage Patch, the crew collected 200,000 pounds of plastics, bringing the total to 700,000 pounds in the past four years.

Turei operated the crane to help remove plastic waste from the ocean.

He said he's been on three cleanup voyages, "Every time, I'm excited when we go out."

Turei said he and other crew members had removed abandoned fishing nets that kill marine life.

He also had to dive into the water and use straps to secure it to the crane for removal of larger items, said he. 

SEE ALSO: Oakland man faces racism during summer program at Cambridge and responds with an incredible teaching moment

Turei has seen marine animals trapped and killed in abandoned fishing nets and is looking forward to the next cleanup voyage that is scheduled to start next week.

"We're going to try our best to collect and try to finish all the trash that's been around there to collect them all," said Turei.  

"Having a healthy and clean ocean makes a difference to ocean life and makes a big difference in our own health," said Crowley.

On Wednesday morning, crews will move the plastic waste to containers to be shipped to a recycler in Long Beach.

Ocean Voyages Institute said all the waste would be recycled into products or used for art projects and nothing goes to a landfill or a dump. 

The missions are funded by donations, said Crowley.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU