Something recently had gone missing from Oahu’s Ala Wai Canal and recreational boaters were getting worried – it was the trash trap.
When heavy rainfall periodically washes tons of debris from surrounding streams and street gutters into the canal, boaters in the Ala Wai Harbor downstream could usually be sure that the state-run trash trap would capture most of the trash-bergs created prior to their reaching their vessels.
Some of the debris is of the natural variety: coconuts, palm fronds, tree limbs, branches, logs and leaves. However, blended into this rich collection of foliage are items from our resident population: rubber and plastic bottles, cups, balls and bags, and Styrofoam products of every description.
Commendably, the state’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation constructed the trash trap years ago under one span of the Ala Moana Boulevard Bridge to capture the floating refuse before it funnels into the boat harbor and eventually into the ocean.
The trap consists of a floating boom-like devise similar to those used in oil spills, however recently one end had become disconnected allowing its contents to escape downstream into the harbor.
Much to the satisfaction of area boaters, today DOBOR employees were able to reconnect the boom to reestablish the harbor’s protection from floating debris.
One downside of this benevolent action by the DOBOR is that the cost of the operation is borne by the state’s Boating Special Fund, which is funded by recreational boaters. In other words, moneys that are slated for the improvement of state boating facilities are being spent to pick up debris that originated from the surrounding City of Honolulu.
There have been many boaters and state employees who have opined over the years that perhaps the City might investigate how it could assist or even take over this operation. One option would be for the City to pick up the cost for emptying the trap, or another might be for it to implement a more comprehensive street sweeping program.
Either way would seem to make more sense than a system that bills the state’s recreational boaters for the job of picking up litter they had little or no involvement in creating.