With trash bags and paintbrushes, volunteers transform area plagued by illegal dumping

Volunteers transform Kalihi community plagued by illegal dumping
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 6:52 PM HST|Updated: May. 22, 2022 at 8:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You may not recognize Auiki Street today.

Gone are all the trash, junk, graffiti, and overgrowth, thanks to the hard work of residents, community leaders, business owners, and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

The section of Kalihi has long been an illegal dumping site. This morning, more than 100 volunteers came out to paint over graffiti, pick up rubbish, and cut back overgrown vegetation.

For organizers, the clean-up is a matter of public safety.

“We have keiki that reside in this area. And they walked to school through all of this. And so just keeping people safe, giving them a neighborhood that they can be proud of,” said Joanna Polevia, a SHOPO administrative assistant who organized the event.

HPD’s Community Policing Team and crews from the City and County of Honolulu removed several bulky items -- some had hazardous chemicals.

“We found a lot of broken furniture, a lot of used household items as well that we threw into our bin, we found that parking meter that we probably think might be stolen, that we recovered. I mean, a lot of different things,” said Nicholas Schlapak, president of the Honolulu Chapter of SHOPO.

After about three hours, the streets were transformed — a testament, organizers say, to what can be achieved when a neighborhood comes together.

“It’s pretty awesome to see the amount of people that are just as inspired to take care of community and its members in this way.” Polevia said.

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