By Michael Ferreira
This morning at 4:30 A.M. a Toyota Tacoma was idling on the wrong side of the street in Upper Makakilo, and the driver was hurriedly taking his load out of the truck. Unbeknownst to him he had an audience and was adding to the already massive pile of what looks like an entire apartment on the curb on Palahia, a block off of Makakilo Dr. this pile has been there since the beginning of July starting with half a couch.
I am on the Kapolei Neighborhood Board and love my community, so I stopped and told him “Bulky Item Pickup is the first five days of the month.” He paused for a moment, then went right back to work as if I was invisible. It is kind of hard to remind your neighbors when the guy looks at the pile, turns to you and says, “Looks like there is still time to add to this one before pickup.” The irony is he probably wasn’t even from our neighborhood, he saw a pile and added to it in a convenient dimly lit area as most dumpers do in the wee hours.
This is one issue that has been plaguing our City Council Member going back years. She has tried almost everything humanly possible to find a solution to this. She innstalled cameras to catch people dumping on Panana and the cameras got stolen. It isn’t the City, it is the people abusing this generous and what was a convenient service. A service that allowed residents to bring out a reasonable amount of discards the night before pickup, we endure an eyesore for one or two days, then all is back to normal.
As it turns out we didn’t get any of this load picked up in July or other locations on Makakilo Dr. This does a couple of things to the program and our community besides affecting quality of life and pedestrian safety.
The worst thing is residents get confused when they can put stuff out. Or they do know, and they don’t care. They see a pile and just add to it. Usually under the cover of darkness. Monkey see, Monkey do. Then, our community starts attracting scavengers spreading all the garbage around to pick through it and leaving it that way. We get dumpers from other areas. Commercial dumpers have now found an all month-long place to discard from their own cleanup jobs and don’t have to limit it to just the first week. We just extrapolated the problem. The constantly visible piles of garbage are like a big “Open for Business 24/7” sign all up and down the streets in our community and the dumpers are happy to oblige.
Because of a month-long and constant pile, it is continually being added to. Further adding to the eyesore that Makakilo and many other places on the island have become. Let’s face it, Bulky item pickup isn’t working. People are still dumping in all the known areas to boot which is part of the reason why they implemented it to begin with. New neighbors not used to free pickups of large bulky items that they would pay to get rid of on the Mainland are shocked we dump trash on our curbs; no neighborhood roll offs or special spring-cleaning pickups from each house like back on what they consider “Earth.”
What are some of the solutions? In Makakilo there has been talk of going grassroots. Some Vets have decided it is time to start a temporary resident “Pickup Posse” which picks up after early dumpers and start keeping track of the off-schedule dumping and posting signs in those hot spots. They started by asking each other, “Do anybody want to take an hour one Saturday a month to get lite items and take to the dump to keep our community nice?” In this way they may photograph and catalog what they take so they can provide this data to the City. This is how it starts.
One group seems to think so and will spend one hour one Saturday a month and get coffee afterward until a handle can be put on this problem. Makakilo and the surrounding area is just tired of a well-intentioned but failing program. It has to change, and it will. However, part of getting resident compliance and helping the City, is the City picking up on time and completely. If that can’t be done then bulky item pickup as we know it has to stop. Calls to Council Member Pine’s office to let her know were made as we have for years, they have been most pleasant and do share our frustrations. We called 311 again.
There has been talk about making the bulky item pickup an on-call system where they come to your house and get it after they receive so many calls in your area so no additional trips by the pickup people are required. In this way, it will eliminate landlords who have a tenant leave their entire apartment behind to dump or the remodel /renovators who dump entire loads of kitchen cabinets, toilets and drywall at the curb. It will also help to raise the fine to $5,000 for anyone caught dumping and to reward whoever turns them in with $2,500 of that fine for getting pictures and descriptions. Cash finds a lot of helpful witnesses at times.
Anybody want to share some possible solutions? The Neighborhood Boards Island wide doesn’t have them all nor does the City. It all starts with you and your Neighbors.
If Kapolei / Makakilo was their own City, it has been suggested they may be able to concentrate on this more intensely along with other pressing issues that have been denigrating life there. When was Second City supposed to actually become its own City? Remember, City of Kapolei?