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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2004

 

 

CITY CAMPAIGN EFFECTIVE AGAINST ILLEGAL DUMPING ON O’AHU

 

           The message of zero tolerance for illegal dumping appears to have gained momentum since the City and County of Honolulu launched its illegal dumping public education campaign in April. More than 150 callers to a City hotline have reported illegal dumping incidents.

 

           “The aura of frustration and apathy regarding this issue seems to be lifting,” said Mayor Jeremy Harris. “Government agencies, community groups and individuals are encouraged by the effectiveness of the collaborative effort.”

 

The collaboration among the City, community groups and media supported the campaign, “Don’t Dump on Hawai‘i: Put Opala in its Place.” Television and radio spots, print ads, media partnerships, islandwide events and other outreach contributed to the effort to educate people that illegal dumping should not be tolerated.

 

A telephone survey by Ward Research, conducted at the end of April, found that 62 percent of people surveyed were familiar with the City’s illegal dumping campaign. Those who saw or heard parts of the campaign supported harsher fines and/or penalties for illegal dumping.

 

The City’s Environmental Concern Line, 692-5656, is becoming an effective clearinghouse for illegal dumping reports.  The line has received more than 155 calls reporting illegal dumping incidents since the campaign began. The City has cleaned up 130 of the sites reported. The remaining 25 are still in progress. Reports have also been made online at www.opala.org.

 

“The government agencies working in the collaborative effort have been extraordinarily responsive as reports have come in for action,” said Frank Doyle, Director of the City Department of Environmental Services. “We expect it’s only a matter of time before HPD is catching dumpers in the act.”  The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) is one of the collaborating agencies.

 

As part of the campaign, the City also collaborated with Kama‘aina Kids on the “Opala for Kala/Cash for Trash” fundraiser that raised more than $60,000 for scholarship programs. In addition, several hundred children were sworn in as Earth Protection Agents, and were given cameras to capture incidents of illegal dumping. Thousands of children participated in more than 23 clean-ups of parks and beaches around O‘ahu. 

 

Prior to the education campaign, 91 percent of O‘ahu residents surveyed via telephone by Ward Research described illegal dumping as “somewhat or very serious.”

 

“Our campaign sought to take residents to the next level,” said Suzanne Jones, of the Department of Environmental Services. “We wanted them to start taking action—reporting illegal dumping and supporting penalties.”

 

There are other things residents can do. “Question contractors working on your home,” said Jones. “Find out where they will dispose of the waste materials.”  Jones warned that unlicensed contractors with lower bids may not be paying the fees to properly dispose of construction waste materials.

 

The City’s month-long campaign has peaked the interest of neighbor island counties to follow O'ahu’s collaboration in addressing the illegal dumping problem, Jones said.

 

The City, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department of Health are planning a statewide training conference on illegal dumping for the fall. The conference will address enforcement training, effective community coalitions and utilization of technology to identify and combat illegal dumping.

 

           

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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