Community picket against emissions today

Dubbed an “informational picket” by members of the Niumalu community, residents can attend a demonstration today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. protesting stack emissions from ships in Nawiliwili Harbor.

“The goal is to pressure NCL to burn cleaner fuel while in Nawiliwili Harbor to reduce air pollution of Niumalu Valley,” Niumalu resident Don Greer said. “Our fight is with NCL management who puts profits over people.”

After a legislative bill proposing a three-year pilot program to determine the level and environmental impact of air pollution caused by bunker fuel burning in cruise vessels docked or moored in Nawiliwili Harbor was deferred in March, Greer feels the picket is the only way to get NCL to listen.

“We know it’s a problem and so does everyone else,” Greer said.

Niumalu community residents are concerned about the diesel exhaust fumes that often drift over their homes from cruise ships docked in Nawiliwili Harbor. According to Niumalu resident Gary Craft at a community meeting in December, area residents have been complaining to the Hawai‘i Department of Health since before 2000, when the American Hawai‘i Cruise Line was operating in Kaua‘i for day trips. Complaints increased when ship trips and sizes increased and NCL began staying overnight on Kaua‘i in 2004.

“We have no objection to the cruise industry,” Niumalu resident Carl Berg said. “Our concern is the air pollution.”

Berg called Thursday’s picket a “peaceful demonstration that will let the company know we won’t tolerate this anymore and we will continue with legislation.”

Greer said he has contacted NCL via e-mail to inform them of the picket. As of this writing, he has not heard back from NCL.

Community organizations including 1,000 Friends of Kaua‘i, Sierra Club, Save Our Seas, People for the Preservation of Kaua‘i, Malama Kaua‘i, Surfrider Kaua‘i and Hui-R have given their support, Greer said.

“I don’t think they take us seriously,” Berg said. “They don’t understand we have other community organizations behind us.”

Those interested in joining the picket are encouraged to stay on the mauka side of Wa‘apa Road.

For more information, contact Greer at don@kauaichocolate.us

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