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Beyond Earth Day

Community Work Day’s Dapitan urges an ongoing focus

April 21, 2008
The Maui News
PUUNENE — If Earth Day can be stretched over a week, it’s reasonable for an island version of Keep America Beautiful Day to be stretched over three months, if not an entire year.

The consciousness-raising faltered when not much media attention was given to the declaration of a campaign, “Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful: Give a Day to Your Community,” on March 1. It was announced in conjunction with the national “The Great American Cleanup” coordinated by national Keep America Beautiful programs.

But there is a focus to the effort, with a Community Work Day quarterly cleanup effort scheduled for Saturday — the 12th straight year of the statewide campaign to encourage community volunteerism to eliminate litter, and littering.

“If our beloved islands are to remain beautiful, thousands of us need to be involved not only for our special community work days, but every day,” said Jan Dapitan, Maui Community Work Day executive director and state chairwoman of Ho’onani Hawaii Nei: Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful.

Her effort is receiving support, with Waste Management of Hawaii donating $5,000 to the statewide cleanup campaign in a ceremony scheduled today at Mayor Charmaine Tavares’ office.

The Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful effort Saturday will cover roadsides, parks, shorelines and other public sites normally scoured by volunteers around the county. The cleanup efforts run from 8 a.m. to noon at most sites; for information or to volunteer on Maui, call Community Work Day at 877-2524.

The Maui cleanup will include additional programs aimed at informing the community about opportunities to participate in cleanups and to avoid adding to the problem. Other events on the schedule include:

• A Paint Exchange, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Work Day headquarters at the Old Puunene School site. Resident with leftover paint may drop the containers off while homeowners who can use paint may select from the paint left for reuse. Contractor Tom Armstrong is the volunteer coordinator.

• Keep It Covered, for residents hauling materials to the Central Maui Landfill, during landfill hours, Saturday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Maui police will be at the landfill providing information on laws requiring truck drivers to cover their loads to prevent materials from being blown off.

• Reef Cleanups, as part of International Year of the Reef, Saturday and Sunday, for volunteer certified divers, sponsored by Maui Reef Fund and Maui Dreams Dive Co.

For Saturday’s project, check in 6:30 a.m. at Slip 23, Maalaea Harbor, aboard the Maui Diamond II. Sign up at 874-5332.

For Sunday, check in 6:30 a.m., Maalaea Maui Dive Shop, aboard Maka Koa. Sign up at 875-0333.

Beyond the Saturday program of volunteerism, Dapitan and Community Work Day are pursuing a continuing appeal to the community to prevent littering, recycle wastes and assist in keeping the islands and oceans clear of trash and debris.

In addition to Saturday’s Paint Exchange, the Community Work Day office at Puunene will accept unwanted appliances, electronics, paint and tires from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. The program will also provide recycling tools, trash bags and gloves for year-round volunteer cleanup projects and can provide environmental educational materials for elementary schools.

It all takes volunteers, and Community Work Day is continuing to accept individuals and groups to participate in specific cleanup projects, from painting over grafitti to clearing dumping hot spots. In May, volunteers are needed for a special tree-planting project along Kuihelani Highway, while volunteers can also assist a number of continuing efforts — an AmeriCorps program to restore natural habitats and archaeological sites; work with Teens on Call in restoring public facilities; assisting Friends of Old Maui High School at Hamakuapoko.

There are any number of things people can do to provide for the beautification of the islands, said Dapitan

“This is a good way to follow up on Earth Day by actually doing something about the environment to help produce a cleaner, greener Hawaii,” she said.

Article Photos

Baldwin Beach Park was extra busy Sunday with the celebration of Earth Day, an event that drew hundreds of people to promote environmental awareness. U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono stopped by, where she greeted Dreaming Bear Kanaa of Kihei and Baba Kauna of Makawao (left). Her district director, Joshua Wisch, is at right. There and at other stops, including Kula School at a “Congress on Your Corner” meeting, she said she is particularly interested in the environment, education and bringing troops back from Iraq.

The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo

Fact Box

Sign Up to Care For Islands
For information on Community Work Day programs, call 877-2524 on Maui, (888)592-2522 from Molokai or Lanai.



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