Trash threatens Hawaii’s capital

Oahu overflowing with trash

After five months of rotting in the Hawaii heat, 20,000 tons of shrink-wrapped trash that was slated to be dumped near an Indian reservation in Washington state will instead be burned in Honolulu’s energy-generating facility, according to The Associated Press.

In mid-August, a court ruling allowed the Yakama Indian Nation to indefinitely block Hawaiian Waste System’s plan to ship the trash to the mainland to alleviate overflowing at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill—the city’s only dump—which is expected to close in 2012. The rubbish has been sitting in an industrial park in Kapoeli, Oahu’s second-largest city, during the legal battle.

Instead, the trash will be burned in Honolulu’s HPower facility, which transforms waste into electricity and is used to dispose of about a third of the city’s waste. What can’t be burned will be put in the landfill. Islanders are hesitant to build another dump, but with 1.6 million tons of garbage being generated each year, they are running out of options.