Since early March, there have been six letters to the Tribune-Herald all expressing concern over the growing problem of highway litter. These letters come from different parts of this island, which indicates how widespread this problem is.
Three of the most recent letters decry the fact of trash blowing out of the truck beds as they travel our roadways. Apparently, there is already a state law saying that all loads must be secured on all vehicles, but it is not enforced.
Some letter writers note that litter really accumulates along the 1-mile stretch on either approach to most transfer stations. I also can attest to that fact.
I echo the sentiments in James Lehner’s March 12 letter wherein he suggests some new county legislation: Workers at the county transfer stations could give out citations to drivers whose truck load is not tied down securely enough so that it doesn’t blow out on to our highways.
Mr. Lehner says that this strategy has worked in other areas. If so, I would urge our county Department of Environmental Management and our County Council members to take a serious look into his suggestion.
Enforce the law
I am in full support of those who have written recent letters regarding highway trash caused by unsecured trash in open pickup truck beds.
It is clearly illegal under the Hawaii Revised Statutes, article 291C-131, and violations can lead to serious penalties.
Section (d) reads: No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway with any load if the load is not entirely covered by a cargo net, tarpaulin, canopy or other material designed to cover the load to prevent the load from escaping from the vehicle, where the load consists partially or entirely of loose paper, loose rubbish, plastics, empty cartons, dirt, sand or gravel.
Violations start with a penalty of $250-$500 for first offense, with multiple offenses leading to suspension of vehicle registration or operator license.
Time for our county to start enforcing this law. Anyone entering transfer stations with improperly secured loads should be cited.
Mini-vacations or a good investment?
Many people might question the county’s travel budget (which is being paid in large part by the federal government but still comes from our tax dollars as taxpayers), so I would like to strongly suggest that Mr. Mitch Roth go ahead and tell us: From the last 10 years of traveling to go to conferences, what wonderful ideas have county civil servants brought back?
I’m sure once we understand how all of this past travel and many millions of dollars has contributed to the quality of local government, all doubts will be put to rest.
Carl F. Oguss