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Kokua Line: How should a homeowner properly dispose of pesticides?

Question: A neighbor handled old pesticides in a way that released noxious fumes into our neighborhood. It has apparently happened before, and we don’t want it to happen again. How should a homeowner properly dispose of pesticides? How can the public be better educated about what to do? What deterrents exist that might prevent a recurrence?

Answer: Pesticides are Household Hazardous Waste requiring special handling; small amounts can be dropped off for disposal at an HHW collection event, according to Honolulu County’s Department of Environmental Services. Don’t place them in household garbage, recycling or green-waste bins.

“In the past, we’ve had refuse employees overwhelmed by noxious fumes when the truck’s compacting hydraulic system punctures these types of containers,” said Markus Owens, ENV spokesman.

Households with large quantities of any type of HHW must call the city’s Refuse Division for disposal instructions, according to ENV’s website, honolulu.gov/opala. Households with small amounts of these flammable, corrosive and toxic materials have various options, depending on the type of hazardous waste involved; even small amounts of pesticides shouldn’t be thrown away at home, the website says.

Based on your description, your neighbor was in the “small amounts” category and should have made an appointment to drop off the old canisters.

“Materials which present serious health and safety hazards, including pesticides and highly flammable substances like gasoline and kerosene, require special handling,” ENV’s website says. It lists about three dozen substances that must be dropped off.

The next collection event is scheduled for Nov. 6. The deadline to register is Oct. 29. To register, call 768-3201 or email household hazardwa@honolulu.gov. When registering, provide the product name (and manufacturer, if possible), the container size(s) and the quantity of HHW being dropped off. Only registered items will be accepted the day of the event.

Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides and miticides, the website says.

Household Hazardous Waste is regulated on the state and local level, and people who dispose of it improperly may be fined $500 for each violation, Owens said.

As for public education, the department’s website lists proper disposal methods for pesticides and other common HHW.

Q: Can Oahu restaurants operate at 100% capacity indoors now that customers are screened for COVID-19?

A: No, capacity limits remain at 50% as required by Gov. David Ige’s Executive Order 21-05, said Brandi Higa, a spokeswoman for Honolulu County. Distancing rules between tables and gathering-size limits also apply. “We have to comply with the state restriction on this,” she said.

Safe Access O‘ahu, the Honolulu County program that requires restaurant employees and customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested for the disease, took effect Sept. 13.

Q: The news said there was a red-flag warning on the Leeward side over the weekend, but I didn’t catch what that meant.

A: “A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. A red flag warning does not predict new fire starts,” according to Honolulu County’s Department of Emergency Management.

Mahalo

I want to thank the person who found my Visa card at the Kaimuki Post Office and had the post office manager notify me. I was worried, anxious and stressed out until I received the phone call. May you be blessed for your honesty. — A very old senior citizen


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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