New bill allows residents to assist police with illegal dumping arrests
Garbage built up in piles, is what some state lawmakers want to prevent.
LILIHA, Hawaii - Garbage built up in piles, is what some state lawmakers want to prevent.
The Palama Settlement off Vineyard Avenue is one of the so-called "hot spots" for illegal dumping.
Debbie Cadiente lives in Liliha and says illegal dumping is a problem in her neighborhood.
"You find syringes, you find diapers, broken glass," Cadiente said.
You name it, she's probably seen it. Cadiente documents her findings in a book.
"I've seen sidewalks blocked where a person on a wheelchair had to go in the street to get through," Cadiente said.
A group of state lawmakers want to deter violators by putting more eyes on the street.
"This is an issue that affects all parts of our island," Rep. Takashi Ohno said.
"It's everywhere, it's everywhere. I drive to different parts of the island. It's everywhere," Cadiente said.
The new bill would allow residents a role in helping police with arrests.
"When you see someone dumping construction materials on the side of the road, or a mattress or a fridge. Pull out your phone, start recording and send that to authorities," Ohno said.
The bill would give police probable cause to make arrests based on statements from witnesses or pictures and video showing the crime.
"I think right now there are people who do so illegally and they do it because they know they can get away with it," Ohno said.
"People need to be more accountable for illegal dumping or improper trash disposal," Cadiente said.
This bill passed the first reading and was brought up Thursday in a committee hearing.
It still has a long way to go before potentially becoming law.
The Honolulu Police Department is monitoring the bill and has not yet taken a position for or against.
The city and county of Honolulu does have its own fines for dumping bulky waste. Setting your bulky waste out on the side walk prematurely before the scheduled pickup date could cause you a $250 citation.
Illegally dumping items anywhere other than the curbside fronting your property could get you a civil fine of up to $2,500.