Thousands rally in Kauai in support of anti GMOs and pesticides bill

Published  5:12 PM HST Sep 08, 2013
KAUAI, Hawaii -

It's an ongoing debate across the state and with the Kauai council set to take up the genetically modified organism (GMO) issue, those on both sides are making their stands.

A march more than a mile long ended at the Kauai County building. There was a sea of red in support of the bill that would govern the use of certain pesticides and GMO's.  

"This is about Kauai coming together and uniting its voice. This is a bill that gives transparency to what the biggest chemical companies in the world are doing on our island. It also puts buffer zones around our schools, communities, and waterways," said  Dustin Barca who helped organize the march.

The bill would also ensure that if pesticides are used then public signs indicating the use would be required. Also, open-air testing of experimental pesticides would be banned under the bill 2491, as well as the cultivation of experimental GMOs.

But, those who support the use of GMO's on Kauai say the bill will put seed farmers out of business.

"We have 500-plus employees on the island. It's ridiculous to think that the farmers and the employees would put at risk not only their own personal health and safety but the health and safety of their families, their neighbors and the community," said Alicia Maluafiti with Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.

Supporters of the bill want annual public reports of all pesticides used by farmers. Some say they are getting sick and they believe the pesticides are contaminating water on the island.

However, "genetically engineered crops and pesticides that all farmers use is safe when used appropriately and according to the label," said Maluafiti.

The Kauai County Council is set to discuss the bill Monday.

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