Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Listen up: It’s been
quiet in Hawaii

By Helen Altonn


Despite some urban hot spots, construction and concert events, Hawaii's noise level has improved in recent years, says the state's noise chief.

With International Noise Awareness Day being observed here today, Jerry Y. Haruno, head of the Health Department's noise, radiation and indoor air quality section, assessed Hawaii's noise situation.

He said his office had about 400 complaints last year on Oahu and about 50 on the neighbor islands. That doesn't include complaints about aircraft noise, which go to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Most of the complaints concerned construction - the primary noise generator, Haruno said.

The next big source of complaints: stationary equipment, such as air conditioning, exhaust fans and pumps.

Third, Haruno said, are nuisance problems involving noises, for example, from animals, stereos and yard maintenance equipment.

There may be an occasional complaint about fireworks noise, but smoke is the chief problem, Haruno said. "It's more of a health impact than the noise."

Complaints on Oahu are concentrated in Waikiki, Haruno said. Makiki and downtown also figure in a number of complaints.

Noise problem areas on the neighbor islands are Lahaina and Kihei, Maui, and the Kona side of the Big Island. Hilo and Kauai are fairly quiet, Haruno said.

He sends inspectors to handle construction, stationary, agricultural and industrial noise complaints and refers nuisance complaints to police.

Construction firms operate under permits that specify time limits and days that work is allowed, but inspectors still respond to complaints to see if they can be resolved, perhaps by putting up enclosures or barriers, Haruno said.

The Health Department used to get nearly twice as many complaints, he said.

"It's tapering off because I think people are aware. For a lot of nuisance complaints, people actually handle those, " Haruno said.

Also, complaints about noise at the Waikiki Shell and Hawaii Convention Center have been resolved, he said.

The city adopted an ordinance to regulate noise at the shell and an advisory committee drafted operational guidelines to control noise from the convention center's rooftop terrace. "It's working well," Haruno said.

An advisory committee is being formed to produce similar guidelines for Aloha Stadium events that annoy neighbors, he said.

Gov. Ben Cayetano proclaimed the day Noise Awareness Day in Hawaii. Islanders were asked to stop what they were doing from 2:15 to 2:16 p.m. for a minute of silence.


Free hearing screenings will be offered by appointment tomorrow at:

Bullet Castle Medical Center, audiology services, 354 Uluniu St., Room 301, from 4 to 6 p.m. Call 262-1109.

Bullet Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, outpatient pediatric clinic, 1319 Punahou St., from 4 to 7 p.m. Call 983-8235.

Free informational material and hearing protection (earplugs) will be available to the public at:

Bullet Hawaii District Health Office, sanitation branch, 1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, 96720. Phone 933-0917.

Bullet Kauai District Health Office, sanitation branch, 3040 Umi St., Lihue, 96766. Phone 241-3323.

Bullet Maui District Health Office, sanitation branch, 54 High St., Wailuku, 96793. Phone 984-8233.

Bullet Oahu, Noise Radiation and Indoor Air Quality Branch, 591 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 133, Honolulu, 96813. Phone 586-4700.

E-mail to City Desk

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