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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, September 21, 2000

How to report
environmental offenses

Question: About 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, I could smell people using Clorox on the reef near Kahala Lagoon. I called the city's environmental concerns number you had listed in a previous column, 527-5091, and got a recording of Jeremy Harris.

I was given different options and finally was told to leave a message or dial zero. I dialed zero and no one answered. What's the problem? I just want to report this to the right people, whatever hour people use Clorox on the reef.

Answer: There was a problem with that hot-line number, and it was to be fixed.

As it is, that number is not really meant to handle such emergencies, said David Nagamine, assistant chief of the city's Environmental Quality Division, which is a part of the Department of Environmental Services.

However, the staff would try to alert the proper authorities, whether city, state or federal, as soon as possible, he said.

In this case, if chlorine bleach was being used illegally for fishing, it should be reported to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Call DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement's 24-hour hot line at 587-0077. (Neighbor islanders, dial zero and ask the operator for Enterprise 5469.)

After hours, you will also reach a recording, but you are asked to leave a detailed message for a dispatcher to call you back.

"DLNR considers the use of chlorine bleach in fishing to be a serious offense and extremely detrimental to coral reefs and animals," spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

The city hot line, meanwhile, is more equipped to deal with, and wants to know about, illegal dumping in storm drains, Nagamine said. It also is interested in nonpoint-source pollution, such as storm water runoff.

By calling that number, you can also get information about volunteering for environmental programs, household hazardous wastes and recycling.

Q: I've been living in my apartment for 5 years. Within the last six months, the condo next to me has put a sensor in for its garage, and I can't stand the noise. Also, there are two red dome lights that flash when a car exits. Is there something I can do? All I want is for the beep to be lowered so it isn't so high-pitched. I have complained to the resident manager, the board of directors of the condo and spoke at the neighborhood board meeting. I have also called the noise branch of the Department of Health.

A: Unfortunately for you, the beeping noise for the garage gate is an emergency signal, which means it is exempt from any noise regulation.

That's why you were referred to the neighborhood board, noted Russell Takata, manager for the state Department of Health's Noise, Radiation and Indoor Air Quality Branch.

In fact, he said, making the beeper less noisy would defeat the purpose of it being a warning signal.


Regarding your Sept. 15 column on "young should give bus seats to the elderly": The elderly need to learn manners, too. They need to say "thank you" when given a seat. Very often, they just sit. No smile. No thank you. -- No name


To all the people who helped this old lady find her car keys in the dark at Ala Moana Beach Park on Aug. 25: the young people who searched for almost an hour, the young man who fetched his flashlight and Lucille with her metal detector. -- Jeanne Aeby

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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