After a scathing audit criticized the city's bulky item pick-up system, big changes may be on the way for Honolulu residents. County authorities say people are ignoring the rules, creating a “free-for-all" culture.
An animal skull, an animal carcass and a large fishing boat are among the things things have been illegally dumped on Paakea Road in Maili. One Waianae Coast resident hopes her new non-profit organization will finally get people to stop.
"Dumping is dumb,” said Sophie Flores. “And I want this mantra to take off."
Flores says she got the idea for an awareness campaign after helping in a community clean up project, only to have rubbish dumped back on the road the very next day. She hopes her grassroots movement will help get the word out that dumping is, in fact, dumb.
"We're gonna go to schools, we're gonna go to churches, we're gonna go anywhere people will listen,” Flores said. "It's not only the cleanup. We need to get to the root of this. We need to get to the systemic problem."
Flores says too many people assume it’s OK to pile rubbish on roadsides, and the city's Department of Environmental Services director agrees: the city's troubled bulky item pickup system is contributing to the problem.
The department, as a result, is considering replacing once-a-month pick-ups with a call-in system.
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine likes the idea.
“Because they're just driving around looking for trash on certain days of the week. Whereas, if they know that there's a certain amount of bulky items on the side of the road, they can just say OK on this day we're gonna come to this area. That seems better and staff can be maximized," Pine said.
The city said it will choose a neighborhood to test the appointment pickups first. In the meantime, Flores thinks shame will work.
"We want to catch a lucky dumper and we will blast his face, her face, all over social media. If there's one thing that the local people just don't like, they don't want to be shame."
Flores said she will be launching her social media sites soon.