County creates draft plan for waste management.
Representatives from the County of Maui spent last week listening to community concerns.
By Jennifer Smith
With only a finite amount of land to place a booming population’s ever-increasing waste, Maui County officials are seeking community input on ways to better manage the islands’ trash. Representatives from the County of Maui held a community meeting last Friday at the Mitchell Pauole Center to present a draft plan on solid waste management, and to hear from Molokai residents on issues pertaining to trash on the island.
“This is a plan, a plan so that we will have some sort of direction,” said Mike Victorino, Maui County Councilmember.
While the county is supposed to review the solid waste management plan every five years, the last plan was completed in 1994. Meanwhile, expected dates for when the county’s landfills will finally become full have crept closer.
At the current rate, Molokai’s Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2015 and the Central Maui Landfill in 2026.
In order to help solve the county’s trash problems, the draft management plan makes several recommendations for elongating the landfills’ lifelines. Recommendations include doubling recycling efforts, enforcing mandatory collection services for garbage and recycling, employing waste-to-energy conversion technologies, and placing some of the current disposal locations on standby.
If Molokai’s landfill is put on standby, it would still be open and would still need all of its operating permits. But recycling efforts would need to double, and trash would be compacted and mostly shipped off-island.
If all the recommendations are adhered to, projections show the lifeline of the Central Maui Landfill could extend to 2042.
“The key is getting the first step,” Victorino said. The Councilmember is passionate about the need to increase recycling efforts and to look to alternative technologies for reducing waste.
“I’ve never wavered from recycling and the benefits of it,” he said. “It is something that all of us must embrace.”
After reviewing the community comments received during last week’s public hearings, the county will then send the 1,500-page document to the Department of Health and the Maui County Council for approval, before finalizing the plan.
The current plan has been one year in the making, and will still require a review of issues dealing with feasibility and implementation.
The county apologized for hosting the meeting on a Friday night, but said site availability and scheduling conflicts made the time unavoidable.
The Draft Integrated Solid Waste Management can be viewed online at http://www.mauicounty.gov/department/EnvironmentalMgt/swplan.htm, or at any Maui County Public Library. For questions call Hana Steel at 808-270-7847.
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