City Begins Cleanup of West Oahu Beaches

(KHNK) -- They're coming to clear the Leeward Oahu coastline of trash and eventually, the homeless.

"Today is a message that we are coming, and steadily moving towards the whole area," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Hannemann, along with city officials and more than 300 volunteers from the community cleaned up five beach parks -- Pokai Bay, Kahe Point, Lualualei, Tracks and Maili Point.

They picked up trash, painted park benches and bathrooms, and set up playground equipment.

"Make it a place where families can come and very much a part of the recreational activities that we offer in the city and county of Honolulu," said Hannemann.

"I just want to come out to help keep this community clean and make it nice," said one volunteer, who brought three of his kids to help.

"We're getting old and they're the kids got to be responsible for the cleanliness of the island and the environment looking good for the kids and future generation," he said.

Hannemann says the key now is maintaining this effort.

"Please help us ensure people are going to take care of the things we've done to improve the area, so that future generations can enjoy it," he said.

After cleaning Ala Moana Beach Park, many people in Waianae asked the mayor when the city would clean their beaches.

That clean up effort would start before the state was ready to deal with the growing number of homeless people on the Leeward Coast.

"Cleaning up the beach parks cannot wait," said Hannemann.

"By doing this the way we are, we're sort of kick-starting the process."

State officials say planning for a shelter or transitional housing is moving along, and they are coordinating their efforts with the city. They say there is a short list of possible sites, including Kalaeloa, but they don't know when it would open.