Garbage pickup delays stretch people's patience

HAHAIONE VALLEY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A city refuse truck making its stop-and-go through Hahaione Valley Monday morning was a welcome sight for residents who had been waiting for their overflowing rubbish receptacles to be emptied. The garbage was supposed to have been collected on Saturday.

When the truck got close to his house, Bob Chang made sure all his yard waste was taken away.

"Because I had so much rubbish, I took my green trash can across the street. He emptied it. I went back and got some more papaya tree stumps that I wanted to get rid of," he said.

For the past year the city has had difficulty staying on schedule, primarily in east Honolulu.

"With the regular trash, too. Not only the green waste," resident Peggy Kami said.

City Councilman Stanley Chang said it's a chronic issue not limited to isolated incidents.

"It is one of our more frequent complaints," he said. "It comes from all over the district, whether it's Hawaii Kai or Kahala or Waialae."

Complaints have also been made to the City Council from other parts of Oahu.

City Dept. of Environmental Services deputy director Manny Lanuevo said the challenges are machinery and manpower.

"Sometimes we have the right number of equipment but we don't have the right number of people to do the job. So it's one or the other," he said.

Lanuevo said another delay is the distance trucks with full loads travel to empty green waste at the Kapolei composting center. Sometimes the operator doesn't have enough time to make it back to resume an unfinished route.

"It's okay being late just so long as they do come. I'm fine with that," Kami said.

The city will add a dozen more trash trucks to its fleet in two or three months, and work on staffing to handle the load.

"Hopefully, that's going to take care of the job," Chang said.

Residents on Hahaione Street said they have waited as many as three days past collection for their garbage bins to be emptied. Lanuevo said he appreciates their patience.

"We are doing our best to make the collection on schedule," he said.

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