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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Clean ocean waters a responsibility for all

Government officials, faced with a difficult and delicate situation, must continue to put public safety first as our contaminated beaches and streams are in the process of being cleaned.

The only course is maximum public disclosure and a vigorous effort to warn visitors and residents alike of the dangers associated with contaminated waters.

On that note, lifeguards report they have no power to keep people out if they insist on going in.

Perhaps it is time to give greater authority to lifeguards and other officials when it comes to beach safety. And keeping beachgoers out of waters contaminated with raw sewage must be viewed as a public health concern.

Meanwhile, we must also recognize that the pollution detected off Waikiki and other areas is not strictly the result of the diversion of raw sewage after a sewer main break.

It is also the result of all the debris improperly tossed into the streets and drain system, which finds its way to the ocean, particularly after heavy rains. This is an area where every citizen can make a contribution.

If we care about our environment, and about our image as a tourist destination, it's more than just the city's responsibility to keep things clean. It's also up to each of us to do our part and keep those polluting elements out of the system as well.