Resolution: find solution to pollution
HAU'OLI Makahiki Hou! Is it safe to assume that most of you have made your New Year's resolutions?
A recent e-mail from a reader brought to mind several resolutions I would hope many in our community might consider.
The e-mail came from a fellow who lives in the Ilikai Tower, overlooking the state's Ala Wai Harbor, and it was in reference to a column I had written about the state's plan to increase slip fees in the marina.
"Good that you brought up the low slip fee issue, but maybe you missed the boat," he wrote. "The problem I see is the bureaucratic gymnastics that the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Parks Department, Harbormaster, Coast Guard and everyone else plays in avoiding the basic essential -- the cleanup of the water. They do nothing!"
And although he went on to compliment the Sierra Club and the yacht clubs for occasionally organizing harbor cleanups, nevertheless, it was clear that he had run out of patience with bureaucratic inaction.
Now, as most Water Ways readers know, I often find the DLNR an easy target when it comes to marina maintenance.
But although, as the reader described, "the filth and trash that is there on almost a daily basis is like something in a backwater third-world slum," the debris has a complex nature. It is waste from a number of sources.
The harbor has been allowed to become the catch basin for the entire Ala Wai Watershed, which includes not only the Manoa and Palolo streams (and everything tossed into them), but also the outflow from nearly every storm drain in Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Makiki, Ala Moana and Waikiki.
All it takes is one good tropical downpour and the trash-bergs start drifting into the harbor at an alarming rate to become hazards to navigation and a deplorable waterscape for visitors and residents.
The DLNR makes an attempt to capture the refuse in a trap beneath the Ala Moana Bridge, but all too often it isn't emptied regularly and is allowed to disgorge its contents at the first whisper of a Kona wind.
The solution to the pollution, of course, involves all of us and might start with our community residents resolving to properly dispose of their garden cuttings and trash.
It might also help if our city council resolved to implement a more comprehensive street sweeping program that included posting no parking signs for set hours a week along every street to allow sweepers curb access.
DLNR officials might also help out by resolving to improve the design and operation of the current trash trap under its control.
And finally, what if every boater in the harbor resolved to be more proactive about the surrounding debris, both by taking a hand in its cleanup and by voicing outrage about it to our political representatives and demanding a change?