Volunteers Clean Up Neighborhood Of Trash, Graffiti - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Volunteers Clean Up Neighborhood Of Trash, Graffiti

Joel Elies Joel Elies
Wei Chou, volunteer Wei Chou, volunteer
Angel Ahedo, volunteer Angel Ahedo, volunteer

By : Stephen Florino

(KHNL) - It seems every community on the island is a victim of graffiti. Dozens of volunteers in Moiliili fought back against the problem. They painted over graffiti, and picked up trash as part of the 3rd annual Moiliili clean up day.

"I'm used to the trash," said Joel Elies, one of the organizers of the event. "I wanna get used to it being clean for a change."

Organizers say so many people talk about making the community better, but few actually do anything about it. They wanted to change that by sweeping the roadside, picking up lots of trash, and painting walls.

"There's a lot of graffiti out here, so I figure I make it look nicer," said volunteer Wei Chou.

"I walk by this every day and it was getting kind of ugly," said volunteer Angel Ahedo. "They asked for some help and I was willing to do it."

Individuals and groups from the neighborhood are getting involved. That's important to organizers because they feel it gives volunteers a sense of ownership.

"The next time their friends are around and they drop a piece of litter and they'll remember this day and think how much hard work it is to get rid of that," said Elies.

They got rid of a lot -- beer bottles, soda cans, car parts, even an air conditioner.

The neighborhood is now a little cleaner and walls are clear from graffiti. But the big question is how long will it stay this way.

"Looks nice now, but I was saying, it looks like a new canvas for graffiti," said Chou.

"We hope that the community takes enough pride in their aina that they're willing to keep this up themselves," said Elies. "I'm sure it will get messy again, but we'll be there again to clean it up."

Elies says they want to do these clean-ups more often, maybe once a month, so they can maintain the area better.

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