HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The city has been stockpiling hundreds of pounds of trash collected by street sweepers right in Kapiolani Park.
The debris piles, located near the Waikiki Shell next to a city no dumping sign, includes asphalt, oil, gravel and plain old trash that's exposed to the elements.
"This really upsets me because this park was gifted by the King and Queen and it's a private trust given to the city to run," said Stephany Sofos, who lives near the park.
Due to the recent heavy rains, some of the garbage has apparently spilled into a nearby storm drain that runs near the Waikiki's Gold Coast and feeds into the ocean.
Among the rubble was a city work report indicated that some of the trash has been stockpile there for nearly two weeks.
That trash pile has invited others to dump their own personal trash there, including used furniture, car seats and even an old air conditioner.
"Yes, I'm outraged. Keep in mind, just a stones throw away is Waikiki Beach, our flagship," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.
The city said it's keeping the trash there for its consultants, which are testing the contest for the types of debris that end up in the ocean.
"This is a routine occurrence," said city spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke.
"Understanding the content helps direct efforts of debris reduction and subsequent improvement in storm water quality," he said.
But the city or its consultants haven't placed tarps over the piles to make sure the study contents aren't contaminated by debris that naturally occurs there -- or don't wind up going down the storm drain.
Nor did they place a protective lining beneath the piles to ensure that potential toxic materials don't seep into the ground.
The trash is usually sent to Sand Island but Van Dyke said that's too far away. When the study is over, the consultant will remove the debris, he said.
But several city employees that work in the road maintenance division told Hawaii News Now that they were worried that dumping might violate state or federal environmental laws.
"When you dump you're creating a situation that's not good. It's not healthy," added Sofos.