Midweek West Oahu Voice: 8.23.17


Taking Positive Steps to Preserve our Aina

The other day, I was sitting on the beach with my husband Brian and our two year-old daughter. We were watching the sun sparkling off the water as it set and I was thinking how lucky we are to be living in such a tropical paradise.


However, the reality is that as we enter a time in history in which our impact on the health of the planet is at a tipping point, we must strive to be better stewards of this gift that is our one and only home.


For the City to do our part in promoting sustainability to protect and preserve our natural environment, I recently introduced Bill 71, which encourages local businesses and restaurants to help protect our lands and ocean by ditching the use of hazardous oil-based polystyrene (aka Styrofoam), and switching to more earth-friendly biodegradable & compostable food containers. 


For years, polystyrene food service containers have littered our oceans, parks and outdoor spaces, while creating hazardous impacts to our environment and ecosystem.  This is why community members, local organizations and businesses are stepping up to support alternative options and adopt practices that are sustainable for our earth.


Protecting and preserving our island home is not an isolated effort.  Maui County, as well as as major cities across the nation such as Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are in the process of implementing similar ordinances.


Additionally, many food-related businesses, large and small alike throughout Hawaii have made the change to eco-friendly packaging that uses renewable and compostable earth-friendly ingredients and have noted that the price difference is relatively small compared to the expense of living in a toxic world. The good news is, the more businesses that switch over and create a greater demand for these clean products, then the greater the reduction in cost. If you would like to see a list of restaurants who are committed to proper recycling practices and utilizing compostable & recyclable takeout containers, I recommend that you visit http://oceanfriendlyrestaurantshawaii.org/.


This month, as Bill 71 is introduced for the City Council’s consideration, we greatly appreciate your support and testimony. You can submit written testimony as well as appear in-person before committee and/or full council hearings where your voice will let my fellow councilmembers know how important an issue this is to you.


As we move forward, my priority is to continue to improve how the City addresses environmental impacts.  An ongoing goal is to make sure that our island home is a sustainable place for all of our ohana & keiki. With your support, we can all have a happy, healthier place for our future generations.