Illegal dump still a mess

LIHUE — The junk cars, rusted appliances and wild boar carcasses that make up an illegal dump along the Anahola coast are still ripening in the sun nearly three months after the state agency that manages the land said it would work to clean it up. 

The makeshift junkyard overtaking the stretch of undeveloped land held in trust for Native Hawaiians has grown so problematic that local environmentalists have offered to foot the bill to haul the trash off the coastline.

But the state hasn’t given them the green light — at least not yet.

Robert Zelkovsky, a member of the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s executive committee, said the organization voted in May to spend an estimated $1,500 to truck out the trash for fear that some of it could spill into the ocean. But when the group presented their plan to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and asked permission to access the land, Zelkovsky said the agency declined the offer and said it would take care of the problem itself.

Several months later, the illegal dump stands untouched.

“Nothing’s been done and so as environmentalists we are very, very concerned and we are frustrated,” Zelkovsky said. “If this tsunami we had a warning about had been larger and hit that Anahola coast, a couple of those cars could have been pulled into the ocean, and there are all kinds of fluids in those cars and it would have been a disaster.”

The land, which overlooks the northeast coast, is an overgrown parcel wedged against a neighborhood of Hawaiian homesteads. Anahola homesteader and community leader Robin Danner said she counted 28 wrecked cars along the shoreline while surveying the site in June.

In addition to cars are old appliances, rotten groceries and the bodies of wild boars.

In the past, DHHL has organized large-scale cleanups to remove tons of junk cars and other trash from the same location.

A DHHL spokesperson did not elaborate on how the department is planning to address the dump site this time around but said several possibilities are being considered.

“There are some ideas in discussion to address the situation but nothing has been finalized,” spokeswoman Paula Aila said.

The department declined to address the details surrounding why it turned down Surfrider’s offer to organize and pay for the cleanup.

If hauling out the trash is the short-term solution, Anahola Hawaiian Homes Association members are working on the long-term fix.

The association has notified DHHL of its desire to play a larger role in discouraging dumping by cutting the grass, patrolling the area and installing picnic tables in an effort to create an atmosphere that’s more like a park and less like an abandoned wasteland.

AHHA leaders said they are waiting to meet with DHHL officials so they can put their plan into action.

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