A canal that flows through town and into the ocean is being used as a trash site.
An area of Palolo Stream that flows under S. King Street is inundated with garbage, along the embankment, and in the waters.
The Department of Health says the area appears to be a homeless encampment.
Health officials say water may be compromised where there are significant numbers of homeless individuals.
In these locations, they will alert the owner of the parcel of land, because they’re in charge of cleaning up the property.
In this case, it’s the state Department of Transportation.
“It’s something you really wouldn’t want in your backyard,” said Manoa Neighborhood Board Chair Dale Kobayashi.
At the site, ladders lead from the street level down to the embankment. Tents are pitched along the stream.
“It’s disconcerting that it’s going on. We have to address it at the next meeting. Why do we still have this trash over there?” said Kobayashi.
Kobayashi says residents have spoken to state officials about the homeless encampment and trash along Palolo Stream.
Spokesman Tim Sakahara says the Department of Transportation hasn’t had complaints in months. The last cleanup it did was in May.
“It’s the same cat-and-mouse game you see happening all over the island. Okay, yep, we cleaned that area, but out of all the people they move, a small amount of people only move to the shelters,” explained Kobayashi.
Besides cleanups, Kobayashi says state officials discussed adding more fencing, and cutting down trees in the area to discourage people from camping.
The stream flows into the Ala Wai Canal, which then empties into the ocean.
Palolo Neighborhood Board chair Randolph Hack says he plans on organizing a volunteer group to clean up the mess.
“The stream is part of our community. We live in the shadow of the mountains and waters come down the streams. We need to make sure they’re unimpeded. That’s natures way,” Hack said.
The health department collected water samples from Kahanamoku Beach, which is close to the Ala Wai Canal, where Palolo Stream empties.
Officials do not believe the trash had a direct effect on recent elevated bacteria levels at Ala Moana Regional Park.