Enough studies, solve solid-waste crisis now
Kaua‘i Solid Waste, thank you for giving Kaua‘i citizens the opportunity to express our thoughts about the draft Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP), the state of solid waste on Kaua‘i and what we believe should be included in the plan and happening here.
In 2011 the updated ISWMP included a material-recovery facility and curbside recycling, but neither was implemented. In 2016, the waste characterization of the Kekaha Landfill showed that 80-90% of materials in the landfill could have been diverted.
In spite of knowing that the landfill had only a few more years at the rate it was being filled, the county councils and mayors over those years reduced the Solid Waste Division staff, including engineers, and put off doing anything constructive to deal with solid waste.
Judging by the 2021 draft ISWMP, the current planners are continuing in their predecessors’ footsteps and deciding once more to STUDY possible actions. Possible actions have been studied to death. The time to act is NOW!
Curbside recycling, a material-recovery facility (MRF), municipal composting, reuse of construction and demolition debris and sufficient qualified staff to achieve those actions must start now in order to extend the life of the landfill and start Kaua‘i on the road to true sustainability.
On top of Kaua‘i’s solid-waste crisis, the state of Hawai‘i has recognized that we are in a climate emergency. For everything the county contemplates doing, we must also be sure it does not produce more greenhouse gases.
To that end, organics may not be buried in the landfill, where in the anaerobic environment they release methane. Organics must be used to produce compost, which can then be spread over fields and rangeland to sequester not only the carbon in the compost, but also pull it from the air and take it deep into the roots. Kaua‘i has plenty of open fields and rangeland where this can and should be done.
With KIUC developing more alternative sources of electricity, especially hydropower, there is no excuse for even considering burning waste. No matter what modern technology is used it is still burning, resulting in greenhouse gases and toxins and leachate.
In the years since 2011, the county councils and mayors have put off until tomorrow dealing with solid waste. TOMORROW HAS ARRIVED! We know that where there is a will, there is a way. This mayor and County Council can find sufficient funds, whether from the previous year’s unspent money or elsewhere, to stop wasting time studying what has already been studied, and to get started on actually solving Kaua‘i’s solid-waste crisis now!
Ruta Jordans, Wailua Homesteads