Freedom’s leftovers

LIHUE — Fourth of July brings with it family fun, friends, food, fireworks and, unfortunately, unsightly piles of spent shells and debris.

Take Hanalei Bay, for example, where large Independence Day celebrations result in exploded fireworks being left along the shoreline and pier.

That trash doesn’t magically disappear.

It takes manpower — volunteer manpower — to return the bay into its pristine self after every Independence Day celebration.

“We want as many people that can come out to come out,” said Kelly Kaona of the St. Regis Princeville Resort, sponsors of the 13th annual After the Fireworks Hanalei Beach cleanup. “The more people there are, the quicker it goes, and the more coverage.” 

Last year, more than 100 volunteers helped restore the beach, which sees thousands of visitors every July 4. The year before, 60 people showed up, so the environmentally conscious crew has been growing. Saturday’s event will go from 7 to 9 a.m.

County officials, meanwhile, reminded revelers on Tuesday that it is illegal to light off fireworks on public property, including beaches. Those planning to light firecrackers Friday are reminded they must obtain a permit by Thursday, county officials said. Firecrackers may only be ignited on private property between 1 and 9 p.m. on July 4.

Only licensed pyro-technicians with proper permits are authorized to ignite aerial fireworks.  

County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said there are no registered firecracker vendors on Kauai this year. However, if people have leftover firecrackers from New Year’s, they would still need to purchase a permit in order to light the firecrackers on July 4, she said. 

Although the following items are classified as fireworks, no permit is required to purchase them — snakes, sparklers, fountains, cylindrical or cone fountains, whistles, toy smoke devices, wheels and ground spinners, and other similar products.

Fire officials also remind residents that all aerial luminaries, also known as flying lanterns or flying luminaries, are deemed a fire hazard and are unlawful.

The county declined to comment on its enforcement policy behind citing firework violators, but said the public should be aware of the laws.

For those interested in cleaning up the trash, refreshments and a chance to win prizes will be provided for volunteers on the North Shore Saturday.

Participants are asked to bring gloves, a hat and sunscreen. 

For more information or to volunteer contact Kaona at 826-2218.

Firework permit applications are available at KFD headquarters, at the Lihue Civic Center Piikoi Building, 4444 Rice St., Suite 315, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The cost of a permit is $25. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

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