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6 million pounds of Albizia trees end up in Big Island dumpUPDATED 10:27 PM HST Aug 19, 2014Video Transcript
I'm Yunji De Nies.... That's how much green waste has been cleared so far from storm ravaged Big Island roads and neighborhoods. Along with cleaning up, efforts are underway to prevent this type of damage in the future by targeting an invasive species that threatens to take over Hawaii. KITV 4's Paul Drewes explains in our top story. nat of trucks Trucks after truck rumbled up to the Big Island's newest landfill at the old Sanford Quarry. "the advantage of this site is it is much closer to the areas that were affected. If the county were to haul that back to Hilo, it would be about 20 miles each way and that would cut into the hauling time, making it more difficult and complicated" Those trucks have been busy getting rid of the massive amount of green waste caused by Tropical Storm Iselle. "We make 8-9 runs a day, maybe 10. The faster they fill us up, the quicker we can get back out there for another load." Much of this landfill is filled with Albizia trees, which littered the lower Puna landscape after the storm. "80-90% of the damage was from Albizia trees. The damaged power lines, and broken branches that wrecked homes and cars, most of that was from Albizia trees." Because of the extensive damage from the invasive trees during the high winds of the storm, a task force gathered to map out a plan to prevent this kind of damage in the future. "This is a terribly invasive species. We gotta do something about the albizia trees to stop them from spreading." So far, 830 tons of green waste have been dumped at the Pahoa transfer station. While commercial truckers have brought in 2200 tons to the new landfill... But there are a lot more branches and trees to bring in. "The vast majority of this material has come from co roadways. There's about 331 miles of county and private roadways in the lower Puna area, so there's still a great deal of work to be done." This growing mountain of albizia waste, shows just how much of an impact this invasive species has had on the Big Island. "We're already 50ft up from the bottom. The way we're going we'll be as tall as Mauna Kea before we're done. Local, state and federal agencies met today to talk about the problem with Albizia trees and what can be done about it. Coming up in 10:30 -- we'll hear more about the concerns from this invasive species here on Oahu. Yunji.