Volunteers call for enforcement as coastline becomes illegal dumping ground

Photo: 808 Cleanups

We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, yet people continue to leave garbage on our beaches, using them as their personal dumping ground.

Video taken Tuesday during a beach cleanup along the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline shows volunteers scooping up a large pile of shattered glass.

They also picked up 113 pounds of nails, broken glass, and bonfire debris, 500 pounds of debris, and 153 pounds of auto glass from two sites on the Kaiwi coast.

The group 808 Cleanups visits the area on a weekly basis to educate people about the impacts of dumping and the importance of keeping the coastline clean.

Michael Loftin, co-founder of 808 Cleanups, says he’s been patrolling at night for almost a year now in an effort to keep debris from ending up on the beach.

“There definitely needs to be more eyes out there, because it is a very un-monitored spot in many ways, and what we are doing on our end is going out at night in groups, and talking to people, but there definitely needs to be an enforcement side as well,” he said.

Loftin says cleanup volunteers are noticing a drop in pallet bonfires, but they still see a lot of nails in the sand and even coals still smoldering from fires the night before.

But does anyone ever get caught, and is there a problem with enforcement?

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says officers conduct evening spot checks as part of their patrols, but did not say how many citations have been issued this year or in the past.

We showed the video of broken glass and debris to Rep. Gene Ward, who represents Hawaii Kai and Kalama Valley.

“Two solutions. One is education, the other is enforcement,” he said. “I would say DLNR does what it has with the resources it has, and we have not given them the resources that they need.”

“We are trying to fill in the gaps on what’s getting missed,” Loftin said.

DLNR said in April, officers responded to a citizen complaint about pallets being dumped and removed them.

Officials say an officer must witness a violation in order to issue a citation. Fines for littering can be $100 for a first offense.

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