Smartphone app aids in reporting smoke, ash, dust
A free smartphone app that will help residents report incidents of excessive cane smoke, ash or dust to governmental agencies is available through the Maui Tomorrow Foundation.
The app will be an improvement to the nonprofit group’s reporting on its Clean Air for Keiki website that went online early this year, said Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie on Friday. Not all reports filed on that website had the necessary information, such as time, date, location and photos, for the governmental agencies to investigate the complaint.
The new app will provide GPS location and a time and date stamp and take a picture, she said.
“It is really more accurate reporting,” said Bowie, who heads the group whose mission is to preserve open space and natural areas and to promote – and fight for, if necessary – growth management strategies.
The reports will be sent directly to the Health Department’s Clean Air Branch, the Mayor’s Office and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“This app empowers the community with accurate reporting to push for better air quality,” Bowie said, noting that the Clean Air for Keiki website has had 10 reports this week, mostly from school officials and residents.
Maui Tomorrow launched the Clean Air for Keiki campaign to inform the community of air quality issues, a news release about the app said. According to Hawaii Health Matters’ indicators for respiratory disease, Maui County ranks second to Hawaii County in adults and children with asthma.
The campaign is working with the state Department of Health for stricter enforcement of restrictions on Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. burn permits and is urging the sugar company to not burn fields on days with variable winds and/or vog and to provide better mitigation measures against dust blowing from fields, the news release said.
The campaign’s ultimate goal is to move the lone surviving sugar company in the state to adopt sustainable practices, such as converting the majority of fields to green harvesting, which would eliminate cane burning, the news release said.
HC&S had no comment about the new app, said Suzy Hollinger, spokeswoman for HC&S parent company Alexander & Baldwin.
Tommy Russo, publisher of MauiTime, turned Bowie on to Citysourced, a Los Angeles company that has built apps for use by municipalities to report cases of graffiti and potholes, she said.
The company was able to adapt its app for Maui Tomorrow’s needs, Bowie said.
Maui Tomorrow paid $7,000 for the development of the app and for listing the app for download for a year.
This free app works on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android. To find and download the app, enter CleanAirMaui on the phone’s app store. For more information, go to www.cleanairforkeiki.org or call Maui Tomorrow at 244-7570.
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.