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LETTERS for the April 12 issue

By Staff | Apr 12, 2018

DOT sells out the public with Lahaina Bypass plans

Sold out… many think they are with the new Lahaina Bypass.

Initially, it was to provide a bypass above Lahaina for island traffic to and from Kaanapali, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua – better for them and Lahaina. The first half of the bypass was placed over south Lahaina, but the next portion was not directed over north Lahaina as planned; instead, it went south toward Olowalu.

The planners renamed it the “realigned Honoapiilani Highway.” The existing shoreline Honoapiilani Highway was to be still used fully, but now it will be blocked to through traffic, thus allowing planned upscale development in the shoreline area.

The result: replacing the beautiful two-lane shoreline highway with a two-lane “realigned” highway mauka with stoplights. Loss of ready access for the public for beaching, camping, fishing, surfing, painting, etc. The major northern connection of the bypass is at Keawe Street – the busiest intersection in Lahaina – and their “fix,” which is inadequate, reduces a portion of the existing and only highway through Lahaina from two to one lane (more population south of Lahaina and impaired access all around).

What should HAVE happened was to extend the existing bypass above Lahaina north to Kaanapali and leave the shoreline highway open to through traffic.

What should happen NOW is to not close the shoreline highway but use both highways by having a traffic light, round-about, or overpass near Olowalu, with possible future shoreline highway solutions as necessary.

The result would be four lanes of highway, fewer problems at Keawe, ready access to the shore for all, and retaining four lanes through Lahaina… and all by figuratively not selling out the public and letting high-end development take over the shore area.



Industries fool consumers all the time

April Fool’s Day reminds us how the meat, egg and dairy industries play us for fools every day. The meat industry has developed a whole dictionary designed to fool unwary consumers.

The flesh of pigs is called “pork” or “bacon” to fool viewers of “Charlotte’s Web” into eating it. Killing of stunned animals for food is labeled “humane.” And, cesspools of pig waste that spill into our drinking water supplies during hurricanes are named “lagoons.”

The egg laying industry is arguing with USDA whether chickens laying organic eggs should have access to the outdoors. But few seem to care that for each hen that lays eggs, a male chick was killed because it doesn’t, or that laying hens themselves get to live less than one-tenth of their natural lives.

A number of states have also enacted “ag-gag” laws that criminalize exposes of factory farm and slaughterhouse atrocities. The meat, dairy and egg industry’s fooling days may be counted.

Many of us are seeing through the deception and replacing animal meat, milk, cheese and ice cream with kinder, healthier and eco-friendly nut and grain-based products available in every supermarket.



Wrapped in a sea of plastic

By now, most of us have read that plastic – that incredibly useful product that all of us use every day – is fast becoming public enemy number one. We have been using plastics for decades, and as a result, plastic is everywhere: in our fish, in our food, in our oceans, in our wastewater treatment systems and in our public spaces.

We use plastics in every part of our lives, from single-use plastics, such as bags, bottles and straws, to our babies’ toys to our nylon clothes to our paint. Plastic particles and plastic microbeads are used in our shampoo, toothpaste, soap and millions of other products, all of which contain different kinds of tiny particles of plastic, all of which come off in our bodies, our mouths, our scalp and our skin as we use them. And plastic use is on the rise, more than 10 percent a year, while industry titans build more and more profitable plastic factories with high-priced fossil fuels.

Plastics everywhere was bad enough, but now multiple studies have found that 94 percent of our drinking water and 93 percent of sampled bottled water worldwide are full of plastic particles and chemicals, including BPA, heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides, PCBs and other chemicals, many of which are linked in animal studies as well as some human studies to cancer, premature puberty, reduced immunity, birth defects, endocrine disruption, insulin resistance and other major diseases.

And we have no idea, and neither does the FDA, EPA, or any other federal agency, whether this lethal cocktail, which binds together with other toxins, is having an even more profound impact on our health and that of our kids. What we get now from those agencies is “conflicting findings” and “uncertainties” about the potential impact of plastics-related chemicals. What we do know is that governments only test or analyze the impacts of individual chemicals to determine the levels of potentially life-threatening exposure, making it impossible to figure out the combined total load of chemicals from plastics our babies can safely absorb.

We, the general public, have unleashed this problem on ourselves without understanding the impacts that fossil-fuel based plastics were having on our environment or our health. Half a century of this “uncontrolled experiment” is fast becoming as serious a problem as climate change, because no corner of the Earth, no animal, no body of water, no human, is immune from its impacts.

The plastics industry, and our fast food industry that relies on single-use plastics, along with others, perhaps taking a page from Big Tobacco, have assured us that everything is perfectly fine. Yet many countries are banning BPA, phthalates and other chemicals from plastics in some plastic products, and even industry is scouring around for suitable alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics, although so far many “biodegradable” plastics aren’t living up to their reputation.

What’s the alternative for us, the consumers and multi-decade guinea pigs, while we wait? Getting rid of single-use plastics, using less plastic and getting involved in local legislation and regulation to reduce and recycle plastics is a good start. In the meantime, some countries and some U.S. states are wising up to the problem and the plastics lobby. An international treaty on plastics is under consideration, but that may be a decade away.

In the meantime, we know for sure that our plastic bottles, sippy cups and the water in them are spiked with chemically laced plastic micro-particles that should not be there.

KATHLEEN ROGERS, President, Earth Day Network