City to clear illegal dump in Kamilonui Valley
||Dengue outbreak in East Maui may be waning|
|||Special: Dengue fever: health crisis in the making|
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau
Fears that a two-story-high pile of debris could become a mosquito breeding ground will bring city crews to Kamilonui Valley to haul away refuse from what has become a dumping ground along a private road that leads to farms in the area.
City crews will clear away the abandoned tires, upholstered chairs, television carcasses, refrigerators and twisted shopping carts abandoned on the road built by farmers when they moved into the valley, said Manny Menendez, the mayor's community representative and executive director of the Office of Economic Development, during a meeting with residents this week.
The cleanup, in the area behind the Mariner's Cove subdivision, is part of the city's island-wide program to minimize the threat of dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitoes.
But Menendez said bulk pickup crews will add the area to their regular route, and that could solve a years-old problem for farmers here.
"We're trying to get it cleaned up," Menendez said. "It's part of the mayor's initiative to remove all bulky items and trash."
Since farmers came to this valley 30 years ago, they have been paying for the hauling of rubbish dumped around their community even though it's not their responsibility, said Katsumi Higa, a member of the Kamilonui Farmers Cooperative. Despite no-dumping signs posted along the road, rubbish keeps reappearing, Higa said. The farmers have even come to neighborhood board meetings appealing to residents not to leave rubbish along the road.
The last time the rubbish piled up, the farmers paid someone to haul it to the landfill, Higa said. The farmers were pleased that the city would remove the trash, which will eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
"We are responsible for the roadway," Higa said. "It's not our responsibility to remove rubbish behind the homes, but we do it anyway to keep the area clear."
Experts say the best way to curb the spread of dengue fever is to reduce Hawai'i's mosquito population.
Vector control crews have sprayed more than 900 areas near suspected cases of dengue fever and residents are asked to empty or eliminate sources of standing water sources around their homes to eradicate mosquito breeding areas. In Kamilonui Valley, the farmers routinely spray their farms to prevent mosquitoes from hatching.
"I don't know what kind of thinking people of Hawai'i Kai have, bringing stuff to dump it here," Higa said. "All they have to do is put it out on the curb and the city will remove it."