Lānaʻi Cleanup Nets 300 Butts, Bill Seeks Tobacco-Free Zones

April 2, 2014, 1:40 PM HST · Updated April 3, 5:27 AM
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Photos courtesy Sonya Niess, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Maui.

Photos courtesy Sonya Niess, Maui County coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi.

By Wendy Osher

The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi partnered with the Blue ʻĀina program of Trilogy Excursions this weekend to collect a total of 300 cigarette butts from Hulopoʻe Beach Park on Lānaʻi.

The cleanup was held on Sunday, March 30, and comes as the Maui County Council considers a bill on first reading this Friday that seeks the creation of Tobacco-Free Zones at all Maui County parks and beaches.

The Blue ʻĀina program, which focuses on reef clean ups, also collected several bags of debris from the beach as part of the cleanup effort over the weekend.

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Hulopoʻe Beach Park is located at Mānele Bay, and is privately owned by Pūlama Lānaʻi. Since the area is regularly maintained, organizers said volunteers were both excited and shocked to see how clean the area already was.

“There wasn’t too much rubbish on the land, but we did find fishing lines and weights in the water, and cigarette butts on the beach — always those wherever you go,” one volunteer said in an information statement released by organizers with the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi.

The effort comes on the heels of multiple beach cleanup efforts spearheaded at various locations across the county including a two-hour island-wide cleanup in January that collected 14,000 cigarette butts; a one-hour cleanup at Keōpūolani Park in Kahului in March which 1,522 butts were collected; and a cleanup at Kahului Harbor in February in which 3,100 butts were collected.

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As part of the most recent cleanup effort, Mālama Maui Nui donated trash bags and gloves; the Blue ʻĀina program brought more than 30 volunteers from Maui and provided them with a meal; and Valley Isle Pumping served as the corporate sponsor, donating funds for educational material on keeping Maui’s beaches clean.

The recent efforts are part of an awareness campaign to help support legislation for tobacco-free beaches and parks that was introduced by Councilmember Don Guzman in February.

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.

The item comes up for first reading before the Maui County Council during a regular meeting set to start at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 4, 2014, in the Council Chamber.

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