A bill to reduce and manage the pesticides and fertilizers used on the county’s property was passed by a Maui county committee on Wednesday.
The Climate, Resilience and Environment Committee voted 6-0, with Council Chair Alice Lee apologizing for recommending the bill, which would include an extensive list of pesticides and fertilizers allowed for use on the county’s property or are forbidden. The measure will now be submitted to the full council for approval.
“I think it’s also important that we look at what we’ve heard so much today about the effects of some of these chemicals getting into our parks and our areas where people go, children or adults.” said councilor Kelly King, who chairs the committee. “And of course our golf courses are right by the sea, which is what makes it so beautiful. That is why we protect our seas and promote this chemical management. “
Councilor Shane Sinenci, who proposed the bill, said during the meeting on Wednesday that the measure would include property not owned by state or private owners, county agricultural parks or agricultural land.
Sinenci was aware that some areas are more difficult to obtain than other other details.
Not the bill “Say no,” but rather ensures more regulation and “Transparency for circuit workers so that people know if and where synthetic fertilizers are used”, he said.
The director of the Maui County’s Department of Public Works can enact new rules when the bill is passed, but the committee discussed extending the regulation to other appropriate departments like parks and recreation.
The parks department advocated working towards the elimination of hazardous materials and the use of organic alternatives on golf courses, fields and public parks. Beach parks are not treated with chemicals.
Only about 10 percent of the 3,000 acres the department manages is currently sprayed, and that’s mostly that “High-intensity playing fields” said Park Superintendent Chris Kinzle.
Jay Feldman, executive director of the nonprofit Beyond Pesticides, said you did “We have to stop the use of dangerous chemicals, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and replace them with a different approach.”
Feldman supported the bill “Organic approach to land management” to protect the soil, air and ocean, and the health of families and children, from diseases and illnesses often associated with chemical exposure, such as rashes, various cancers, birth defects, asthma, diseases of the brain and nervous system.
“We don’t need toxic pesticides to meet our community goals for aesthetics or safety in parks, playgrounds, sports fields and on the roadside.” said Feldmann. “We’re not talking about product substitution. … We are talking about a system change. “
Rowena Dagdag-Andaya, director of the Ministry of Public Works, has called for some changes to the bill, including wording to better define county ownership, expand administrative responsibilities, or provide more documentation on prohibited and permitted substances listed in the bill are.
Dagdag-Andaya said that the department is “Obliges us to reduce our herbicide use for our roadside vegetation management program”, however, there are still instances where staff must use herbicides to control overgrown vegetation or areas that may become “dangerous.”
The handful of witnesses on Wednesday supported the law, including agencies like the Sierra Club-Maui Group, West Maui Green Cycle LLC, the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, and the Napili-based Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research.
The organizations are committed to reducing or eliminating pesticides and synthetic fertilizers because of their harmful effects on the environment.
“We believe this law is vital as the county owns a large number of coastal properties. For example, I’ve just counted 18 county beach parks in South Maui and 10 in West Maui. “ said Anne Rillero, director of communications and outreach for the Marine Resource Council. “It has a responsibility to look after its land in such a way that the health of our coastal coral reefs, marine animals, water quality and also the people who enjoy the sea are protected – we use it for fishing, recreation and cultural connections. ”
Junya Nakoa, a coach for several youth paddle and baseball teams in Napili, said “We have to protect these children.”
Players have to do “Pushups and situps in the grass” said Nakoa, concerned about exposure to unknown pesticides and fertilizers as there are no detailed signs when parking areas are sprayed.
The resident of the country and mother Jordan Hocker said: “I really only wish that my child could pick clover or blackberry and not have to worry about their neurological functions being impaired.”
“I would be happy if other families could do the same” She added.
The measure was recommended with some revisions, with Council Chair Alice Lee expressing concern that there was insufficient public input and that more education was needed on the bill before it could be implemented.
If the bill were approved, it would go into effect a year later, despite War Memorial Complex and Ichiro “Iron” Maehara Baseball Stadium would have two years and Waiehu Golf Course three years before the new rules apply.
Sinenci said that the bill “Is the result of listening to the public, all the different departments, the business consultant, our council services staff and our past committee members.”
* Dakota Grossman can be reached at email@example.com.
A Maui county committee on Wednesday recommended a bill that would regulate the use of pesticides and fertilizers on the county’s property. If passed, the law would come into effect a year later, with the Waiehu Golf Course shown here in 2017 having three years to implement the new rules. Maui County Parks and Recreation employee Myles Ka’eo is cutting overgrown grass along the Wahikuli Wayside Park coastline in 2019. While councilors are proposing laws to reduce pesticide use, district authorities have also looked at alternatives like natural sprays and more handcrafted. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER Photos
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