Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, June 10, 1997

HPD sends reminders
to careless drivers

On May 21 about 7:10 a.m., I stopped for a red light at Kulukeoe and Kahekili. Two seconds later, a red Honda Civic CX, with a decal in the middle of the rear window, driven by a young woman, barreled through the intersection. A young boy had been waiting to cross but luckily was alert enough to step back in time. This was not a situation in which the light was yellow. It seems to me more and more drivers are running red lights. Is there something individual citizens can do when they witness situations of flagrant disregard for traffic laws?

Yes, there is, but mainly only to make the culprits realize their actions are not going unnoticed.

Note the license number, date and time of a violation and send it to the Honolulu Police Department Traffic Division at 801 S. Beretania, Honolulu 96813, with an explanation, said Maj. Gary Dias.

"We will send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle to inform them of the violation observed and request their kokua in observing traffic laws," he said. "This will help violators become aware that their traffic violation was noticed and hopefully, they will drive more carefully in the future."

Dias cautions motorists, however, not to make any attempt to stop or confront another motorist over a traffic offense.

I want to first say mahalo to the woman who goes to Kaimana Beach in the morning and picks up all the cigarette butts on the beach. Is it true that a lot of the butts are tossed off cruise ships and are killing the fish and turtles? If so, maybe the ships can put up signs saying don't throw butts overboard, or put out containers for disposal.

As far as the state Department of Health Clean Water Branch knows, this is not a major problem.

Also, "it's difficult to confirm that cigarette butts are coming off cruise shops, said spokesman Patrick Johnston, noting that there are smokers on fishing boats and other ships as well.

Perhaps an even bigger source of shoreline pollution: storm drains, which deposit all sorts of debris, much of it worse than cigarette butts.

"That's our major concern," Johnston said.

George Balazs, the sea turtle expert for the National Marine Fisheries Service, says he can't speak to fish, but notes, "There are indeed records of turtles swallowing cigarette butts."

But Balazs said, "It would be an overstatement to say that cigarette filters are a major problem of sea turtle survival today."

However, if people look at the bigger picture -- of cigarette butts and filters being just a small part of a larger problem -- then it becomes obvious that "every litter bit hurts" in the sea as well as on land, he said.

More Kokua Line
in today’s Star-Bulletin:

  • Auwe
  • Mahalo

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