New Bill Hopes To Clear The Air Near Gulch

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - September 30, 2009
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Something stinks on the Leeward Coast, and legislators are working hard to clear the air.

Senate Bill 701 SD2 currently serves as a moratorium on new solid waste landfills and the expansion of existing landfills from Kaena Point to Waimanalo Gulch. The bill will be discussed again in January in order to move forward when the new session begins.

“There are other venues that people are looking at. We’re also looking at turning waste into energy or having our waste shipped away to other states that are willing to take the trash,“reported state Rep. Karen Awana.“The focus on this particular measure was just not to allow any considerations that might burden the Waianae coast with additional landfills.”


The bill was put in place to protect the already landfill-riddled residential and agricultural areas from further encroachment by island trash.

“Waimanalo Gulch was originally supposed to be a temporary site; now people live right next to the gulch, and right across the street you have Ko Olina homes,“Awana said.” In the area we have eight preschools, charter schools and public schools that would be affected if a new landfill was brought in.”

Waimanalo Gulch, like many other island landfills, has put in place what Awana refers to as “wind catchers” designed to catch floating and free-flying debris and keep it out of Oahu’s oceans and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, not every piece of trash can be caught.

“It’s near the beach, and I recall having fishermen report that there are a lot of plastic bags and debris that float into the ocean since the gulch’s arrival,” Awana stated.

But with minimal space existing on the island as is, what can we expect in terms of waste management in the future?

“I’d really like to see mandated recycling,“Awana said. “I’d also like to see our waste made into renewable energy components, maybe even recycle some things again and again like wire treads from tires and such.

“I know our grocery stores are selling reusable bags, and I have sponsored a few recycling programs at the high schools in the area. Those are little ways that make a big difference in overall consumption. Overall, we are just looking to become a more sustainable community.”

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