UBS Demonstrates Commitment to Sustainability by Sponsoring Environmental Events to Improve Health of Honolulu’s Ala Wai Canal

·3 min read

HONOLULU, March 11, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UBS Wealth Management USA today announced that it will be sponsoring two local events in Hawaii for the Genki Ala Wai Project, a non-profit organization under the Hawaii Exemplary State Foundation. The organization works with The Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako, to help introduce bioremediation technology that will make the Ala Wai Canal in Honolulu, Hawaii, fishable and swimmable within seven years.

A manmade canal on the northern boundary of the tourist district of Waikiki, the Ala Wai Canal provides drainage to swamps, rivers, and streams in central and East Honolulu. As a top-used inland waterway in Hawaii, it is enjoyed by paddlers and boaters, even as urbanization increases pollution to its waters. Over the years, sludge has formed and accumulated in the canal due to oxygen deficiency. The sludge produces harmful gases such as methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulphide into the water and has made the canal a toxic environment.

The Genki Ala Wai Project will use Genki balls, softball-sized mud balls made from clay soil, rice bran, molasses, water, and Effective Microorganisms ("EM") solution. The Genki balls are tossed into the Ala Wai canal and sink to the bottom to digest the sludge. Data from the Hawaii State Department for Health supports their positive effects. Colony Forming Units ("CFU"), which indicate presence of fecal material and water contamination by disease-causing organisms, decreased by 72% in the Ala Wai, after students from Jefferson Elementary School implemented an introductory Genki Balls project on two dates in 2019.

UBS will serve as title sponsor of two local events in conjunction with the project. The first is on March 12 and will involve local volunteers making the Genki balls, and the second event on April 2, will see the local community throw them into the canal.

"The canal is a beautiful and peaceful place that provides a great escape, but it has also become filled with trash and pollutants, enabling sludge to form," says Jenny Do, Financial Advisor at UBS in Hawaii, and president-elect of Eco Rotary Club of Kaka'ako, who was inspired to initiate the project. "Throwing the Genki Balls into the canal will enable bacteria-digesting organic compounds to continue restoration of this beautiful place."

"We are proud to support the Genki Ala Wai Project and The Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako, in these events aimed at restoring the health of the Ala Wai Canal," said Daniel Shiu, Financial Advisor at UBS in Hawaii. "At UBS, we help our clients create a lasting legacy by using their wealth for good. With this project, we demonstrate our passion and commitment to connecting people for a better world and are excited to watch it unfold over the years to come."

With over 200 volunteers for each event so far, The Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako is encouraging local residents to donate $5 to make a Genki ball and sign up to one or both events, here. A portion of each donation will go to the Genki Ala Wai Project and additional environmental projects from the Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako, which have included planting trees, beach cleanups, and community gardens.

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