City allows exemptions from rubbish bin rules


POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

QUESTION: We live in Manoa across the street from a family who leaves their rubbish bin on the grass easement 24/7. The cart is an eyesore and it's killing the grass. We have tried calling the city to see if they might notify the family about the guidelines for when to place the cart on the curb (I believe it should be placed no earlier than 6 p.m. the night prior to pickup), but nothing has been done. Can you help?

QUESTION: I called the refuse people at the Pearl City yard to complain about my neighbors' trash bin etiquette, leaving trash bins out on the street all the time, in front of my mailbox or on my property. They told me it's not their problem, that I have to deal with the neighbors on this issue. I asked about the rules that they publish and gave to all of us when they distributed the bins—the bins can't be out before 24 hours before pickup, etc.—and they told me they didn't make those rules. What good are rules if no one follows or enforces them?

ANSWER: In both situations, the owners have been given approval to leave their carts out in front of their properties because of the steep terrain, said Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services.

He pointed to Section 9-1.4(c) of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, which says: “;In cases of hardship, as determined by the director, automated carts may be left on the street or sidewalk area.”;

In the Manoa case, the problem is there really is no driveway, just a “;steep staircase from ground/street level,”; he said.

However, even residents given dispensation still have to follow the rules about the proper placement of carts.

Owens said the residents in Aiea would be informed about the rules, which include not placing carts out before 6 p.m. of the previous evening of pickup; not blocking access to or parking vehicles in front of the cart; and allowing at least five feet of clearance from fences, lampposts, fire hydrants, mailboxes, parked cars and other obstructions.

QUESTION: With the expected H1N1 virus and flu season in full swing, has the state Department of Health issued an advisory for children regarding trick-or-treating at shopping malls? Will attending these large events pose an increased risk for catching these contagious diseases?

ANSWER: The department doesn't believe an advisory restricting public events is necessary at this time.

“;Measures like social distancing (and) canceling public gatherings and events are helpful during a serious pandemic,”; said spokeswoman Janice Okubo. But Hawaii is not now experiencing any widespread flu outbreak.

Instead of isolating themselves, “;people should be vigilant about getting a seasonal flu vaccination and the H1N1 flu vaccination when it becomes available,”; Okubo said.

Other tips for protecting yourself: wash hands; stay home if you are sick; avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth; and cover coughs or sneezes.

“;If the situation in Hawaii worsens, the (department) is ready to put out advisories to the public,”; Okubo said.

For more information on preventing the spread of influenza, check the department's Web site, flu.hawaii.gov. For tips on preparing for a serious pandemic, go to hsblinks.com/12h and hsblinks.com/12g.