Volunteers fear trash from homeless camp polluting waters off Waimanalo
About a dozen volunteers cleaned a portion of the camp Saturday, managing to fill more than a hundred garbage bags within a few hours. The group is concerned about litter impacting the ocean.
A homeless encampment in Waimanalo tucked away downhill on the Kailua side of Makai Pier is causing some to push for action.
Volunteers from an East O'ahu group say trash is spread out along the sand at Kaupo Beach and is threatening the ocean.
"Batteries, feces, propane tanks, moped parts it's right into the shoreline," Bill Froelich said.
Froelich and about a dozen volunteers cleaned a portion of the camp Saturday, managing to fill more than a hundred garbage bags within a few hours. His main concern is what litter is doing to the ocean.
"I don't want to say anything negative or portray or ostracize anybody or anyone that is less fortunate. I just want to bring light to the amount of trash that was brought up," Froelich said.
The land falls under the Department of Hawaiian Homelands but is leased to the City and County of Honolulu.
City officials tell Island News that they're aware of the population and have conducted homeless outreach in the area.
However, by the request of the neighborhood board, the city says it has opted to hold off on any enforcement.
Waimanalo resident Kukana Kama-Toth says a majority of the homeless in her town are from the homestead. Kama-Toth says before any sweeps take place, its vital to ensure the homeless have a place to go.
"In no way am I trying to give excuses for that because that's not maika'i, its pono 'ole, it's not well," Kukana-Toth said. "But we have to understand too that it's not a quick fix. Yes, there's plenty of rubbish, plenty of garbage. You try live without a house and see how easy it is for you to take care of your opala or bathe your children or go to the bathroom."
Kama-Toth is proposing the state set aside a safe zone for homeless in Waimanalo.
Community members are working on acquiring state land to meet that goal.