Don’t be misled by the recent commentary touting plasma arc gasification (PGA) as a solution to Oahu’s landfill problem (“Plasma arc gasification could solve Oahu’s landfill problems,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 13).
To date, every attempt at commercializing PGA has proven to be an economic and/or technical disaster. Google “plasma gasification commercialization” to ascertain this for yourself.
Worldwide, there are fewer than six PGA plants in operation, all of them in places where environmental regulations are notoriously lax. Together they process about 200 tons per day — 10 times less than what Oahu produces in a single day. In places where environmental regulations are taken seriously (Europe and North America), no PGA plants operate and no new ones are planned for the future.
As for PGA’s potential to contribute to our sustainability goals, like any waste-to-energy scheme, it’s no more of a solution to Oahu’s waste problems than drinking coffee the morning after a binge is a cure for alcoholism.
Executive director, Recycle Hawaii
Candidates should take down campaign signs
I always get grumpy at this time of the election cycle when, driving down the roads, we must continue to look at the names and faces of all the candidates who failed to move their campaigns forward (I did not call them losers).
But negative thoughts do surface about why they fail to get the now- obsolete signs down. Clearly “clean, green and beautiful” are not a part of the candidates’ core values. Maybe it is time for some administrative rules governing this cyclical eye pollution. The rest of the story is that the property owners could/should be more proactive in this regard.
Squabbling hinders state’s COVID-19 efforts
For months, Hawaii has suffered through the warring personalities and factions within our state government while COVID-19 casualties soar.
The clashes among our leaders and health experts are not only between opposing political parties; they are internecine, among and between Gov. David Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, health director Bruce Anderson, state epidemiologist Sarah Park, schools superintendent Christina Kishimoto, Senate President Ron Kouchi and his COVID-19 committee, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and others.
We have been damaged by their inability to work together toward an effective and unified plan against the pandemic, and their inability and unwillingness to coordinate strategies that prioritize health and safety over business and tourism.
Businesses conducted by desperate owners and frightened employees are unworkable. Schools without strict safeguards risk our children’s and educators’ lives. Kupuna succumb without effective controls and penalties with teeth.
Previous pandemics were defeated by scientists with less knowledge and resources. Why can’t we defeat the pandemic with our modern, well-funded efforts?
Ige should already have the data to decide
I find it interesting that Gov. David Ige has been waiting for more data while the general public has so little (“More restrictions expected as Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell plan their next move,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 18). All I see are rising counts of COVID-19 victims and hospitalizations, but that data must be inadequate for him.
Not counting his own Department of Health, others in the field have been asking for more restrictions for several weeks. Jobs are extremely important, yes, but we continually hear about how public health and safety are the priorities.
Maybe he needs to take his own advice and “take care of your community.”
News photo encourages going maskless in public
On Aug. 17 you printed a photo with this caption: “A gaggle of youths made their way along Kakakaua Avenue on Sunday in Waikiki.”
A more useful caption would have been: “A gaggle of mostly maskless youths … ”
When you print photos of people not wearing masks, you send the message that this is acceptable behavior. The Star-Advertiser has the power and the responsibility to promote means of controlling the spread of the virus. This photo did the opposite.
GET burdens most those who can least afford it
It amazes me how people think the 4.5% general excise tax is cheap and fair.
The Weir ohana wants to raise the excise tax for COVID-19 expenses stating that, “We’ve boasted about our low GET for decades, yet we outgrew and outspent it many years ago. An increase in the GET would help all members of the community and do so fairly” (“Raise the GET to get state through crisis,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Aug. 17).
Low? Fair? In fact, Hawaii’s GET is the most regressive. According to an Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy study, Hawaii citizens in the lowest 20% income bracket, making less than $18,000 per year, pays an average of 11% of their income in excise tax. By contrast the highest 20%, making an average of $375,000 per year, pays only 1.2% of their income for excise tax.
In Hawaii, the GET applies in business-to-business transactions that are passed on to the final consumer and taxed again. In other words, we tax the tax. Not fair, not low!
Install more drop boxes to ensure votes count
Since the U.S. Postal Service may not be able to deliver ballots on time in November (“Pitfalls ahead for all-mail voting,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, Aug. 17), elections officials should be proactive and purchase more drop boxes now. If new drop boxes won’t arrive in time, less sophisticated drop boxes should be considered for placement in designated banks and credit unions for voters to use.
These financial institutions are safe and secure. Opening more service centers also should be planned to mitigate the effects of a potential slowdown of USPS mail deliveries.
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