Storm drains keep your neighborhood from flooding when it rains by quickly moving water off streets and into a series of pipes. These pipes lead into long canals, lakes or rivers. Over time, the water flows to the ocean. Since it isn't treated or filtered, any pollutants on the street end up in the ocean with the drained water.
When you hose down fireworks or other debris after a celebration, the storm drains can clog, causing flooding and contaminating the ocean. It's easy to avoid these problems by throwing your trash in a can. It is illegal to intentionally pour any water or pollutants into a storm drain, but it often happens when you don't realize it. Anytime you leave motor oil on the driveway or wash your car with soap, those pollutants end up in the ocean. Other activities, like not cleaning up after a pet, cause the same problems.
In Hawaii, stencils on our drains remind us to take care of our land. If you want to help out by stenciling drains, call 527-5699.
The Honolulu Department of Environmental Services website has more information on storm drains and ways to prevent pollution.