Bill Seeks Tobacco Free Parks in Maui County
By Wendy Osher
A bill seeking the creation of Tobacco-Free Zones at all Maui County Parks will be introduced today by Councilman Don Guzman during today’s regular meeting of the Maui County Council.
The Surfrider Foundation of Maui reports that more than 1,000 petition signatures and 100 pledge cards have been collected by those in support of the legislation.
In January, the Maui District School Council Organization led an island-wide beach cleanup where more than 14,000 cigarette butts were collected in just two hours. The cleanup took place on Sunday, Jan. 12, with the support of the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter, the Coalition for a Tobacc0-Free Hawaiʻi, Mālama Maui Nui, and Sustainable Coastlines.
An additional 3,100 butts were collected during a cleanup led by the Surfrider Foundation at Kahului Harbor on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Supporters of the legislation say the butts are toxic and filters made of a form of plastic that do not biodegrade.
A similar measure was passed on Oʻahu that went into effect on Jan. 1; and Hawaiʻi County adopted a law for tobacco-free beaches and parks in 2008.
At the state level, South Maui lawmaker Kaniela Ing introduced a bill that seeks to ban smoking on all public beaches in Hawaiʻi. That item was recommended for deferral by the Water and Land Committee, and the Ocean Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, on Feb. 7.