Saturday, October 30, 1999

Environmental coalition
publicizes cleanup heroes,
teaches how you can help

By Pat Omandam


Litterbugs beware: You may get an earful from 7-year-old environmentalists Kasie Clark and Malia Teske if they see you littering.

"It's not hard just to pick up trash," Clark said.

Teske knows it's important to recycle because old material is turned into new stuff. She's saddened when she sees someone littering or not helping in community cleanups.

"People are too lazy to go anywhere and do something," she said.

The two youths, best friends at Punahou School, picked up trash along Nuuanu Stream at Liliuokalani Botanical Garden yesterday to help kick off a new statewide education campaign that urges people to clean up and protect Hawaii's environment.

The "Na Me'e o Ka Aina" (Heroes of the Land) campaign is to acknowledge the hundreds of people, schools and community groups that already are working to keep Hawaii clean.

It includes a 30-second television commercial featuring Youth for Environmental Services and its recent efforts to help clean Nuuanu Stream.

By recognizing groups and people who work hard for the environment, others will be encouraged to do so, said attorney Gary Slovin, a member of the Environmental Management Advisory Group.

The group is a broad-based coalition of local businesses, community and environmental groups, the state Health Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We believe these people are Hawaii's real heroes because they work hard, usually without recognition," Slovin said.

"We wanted to recognize them, and we wanted to make them role models for all of us to follow."

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said there is a growing need to get the public involved in a statewide effort to protect the environment.

While the state's environment is relatively clean compared with the mainland's, there are "hot spots," particularly along coastal and inland waters, he said.

"If we don't tackle these areas now, they could pose larger threats in the future," Anderson said.

"But we can't do it alone. We are going to need everyone's help if we want to make Hawaii's water, land and air measurably cleaner by the year 2001 and beyond."

The campaign also includes a speakers bureau and an informational brochure which lists ways the public can get involved. Some of them include:

Bullet Preventing household and automotive products from spilling on the ground to keep groundwater clean and safe.
Bullet Making a compost pile to use when landscaping to protect the land from garbage and pollutants.
Bullet Using as little pesticide and fertilizer as possible to protect and restore the quality of Hawaii inland waters, such as streams.

The advisory group was formed in 1997 to promote environmental awareness and ensure the Health Department's environmental goals are met by 2001.

A total of $27,000 was donated for the public service announcement by Hawaiian Electric Co., the U.S. EPA Region IX Office, Chevron Hawaii and Dames & Moore.

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