Options to remove unexploded ordnances off Molokini stir community concern

Updated: Jun. 27, 2020 at 5:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Community concern has exploded over the state’s proposed plan to remove unexploded ordnances off Maui’s Molokini Crater.

The state says two World War II era bombs were discovered off the islet, and have been there for about 70 years.

Activists say they were told the state and U.S. Navy planned to detonate the ordnances, which they fear would have damaging impacts on the wildlife above and below the water’s surface.

But the DLNR, Department of Health and the U.S. Navy say nothing has been finalized and they are still discussing plans for removal. They are considering all of the impacts.

Officials however have been notifying boaters, divers and tour operators about their concerns since last November, saying they pose a threat to recreational activities if moved.

Environmentalists worry that if the state plans to detonate the ordnances, coral reefs will be damaged.

“We have experience, we have seen that it can damage and destroy the reef. And certainly it’s an important place culturally as well -- sacred sites as well as archeological sites,” Executive Director of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund Hannah Bernard said.

“It’s a place that’s considered very special, and it’s earned its protective status,” she added.

Environmentalists are hopeful officials won’t detonate the ordnances, and rather find an alternative plan.

They’re starting a grassroots campaign called “Save Molokini Now.”

The state says, once they do have an idea of how they plan to remove the unexploded ordnances, they will notify the public.

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