Vogs effect on Hawaii's economy

Pearl Iboshi
Pearl Iboshi

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

BIG ISLAND (KHNL) - Big Island Business and Tourist Associations discuss the impact of vog on Hawaii's economy. It's the third in a series of fact finding meetings.

Heavy vog started to blanket the Big Island in early March, and economist say it couldn't have happened at a worse time. With the closures of ATA and Aloha Airlines, the sub prime mortgage crisis, and slowing economy, it's difficult to find the exact impact vog has on Hawaii's economy.

"It becomes very hard to determine if what your experiencing on the on the Big Island has to do with vog or what we are going through as a state," said John Monahan of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

"There really is no data in terms of jobs or production data that would give us an idea of wether there really was a large impact," said state economist Pearl Iboshi.

Kilauea's eruptions sends well over 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere each day. The poor air quality affects agriculture and drinking water. Some say it is even having a psychological affect on Big Island residents.

"To really do specific surveys, I think that would be the only way to get at that information and that's a really expensive thing to do," Iboshi said.

And with the current eruption estimated to last decades, businesses can be sure of one thing.

"One day it will have a substantial effect," Monahan said.

The House Special Committee on vog effects will continue the search for more funding for reliable data on vog's effects on the economy.