The largest issues my community and the state of Hawaii faces are the issues related to the water quality. This issue is one of the most prevalent and one that has the ability to be reduced or even completely demolished if a consistent effort is made over time. Our state also has air quality problems which are certainly more difficult problems to find a solution for since most of the air quality issues are derived from the volcanic ash from neighboring islands. Pollutants in the water present unique challenges to the environmental sustainability issue. Out of the 25 sources of water in the area only six are considered in “good” condition while others are listed as “impaired.” Many of the local waters are listed impaired because of non-native fish/shellfish/zooplankton and channelization. Many of the reports also did not have impairments listed. The Keehi Lagoon was clearly the area with the most serious impairments. The lagoon contains metals (industrial permitted), nutrients, oil, grease, sediments, turbidity and pathogens. I was very surprised to learn that while Pearl Harbor is listed as “impaired” there are no reports addressing the issue whatsoever.
It is common knowledge that the Battleship Arizona leaks oil and that the hull is deteriorating. The deterioration of the hall will eventually cause the estimated 500,000 gallons of oil to escape into the harbor. The water issue in the State of Hawaii is an environmental sustainability issue because it is affecting the life of those animals who call these waters their home. When you view the EPA’s report of Hawaii it is easy to see that we are a very green state that cares about the environment, but one thing I did notice is the amount of industries that have special permits that allow them to dump waste into the waters. According to the most current EPA reports, companies that have been issued permits to discharge waste water into rivers has recently increased by 12 new companies with new permits and one that had a permit expiring. Intuitively dumping waste into rivers is not an environmentally sound decision, but rather a decision made as a result of the resource shortages such as space. “The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) issues permits to all wastewater dischargers and treatment facilities.
These permits establish specific discharge limits, monitoring and reporting requirements and may also require these facilities to undertake special measures to protect the environment from harmful pollutants.” (cite) The NPDES has been in effect since 1972. The Department of Health (DOH) in Hawaii has a multitude of different plans intended to reduce and maintain the amount of waste and pollution that occurs on the island. The Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch has a Pollution Prevention Program that helps show businesses how reducing their waste not only will improve their employees’ health and enhance productivity, but also material and waste costs can be minimized and they will reduce their regulatory compliance liability.
They also try to show businesses that when you reduce waste you become more efficient and help with conservation of resources while at the same time getting publically recognized for being an environmentally sound business. I was unable to find any new solutions to solve the wastewater problem here in Hawaii. I do feel that not only does the wastewater need to be addressed but also the old and deteriorating pipes that are found in Hawaii. Recently in the news there have been many reports about water main breaks and leaks in sewer lines. In February, a sewer leak caused the health department to issue a special warning to swimmers, fisherman and canoe paddlers to stay out of the Keehi Lagoon. The leak was caused by a cracked pipe under Nimitz, Hawaii.
Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper answering these questions:
What is the issue?
Why is this an environmental sustainability issue?
Whom does it affect?
What are the causes of the issue?
What are the environmental regulations related to this issue?
How has this environmental issue been regulated or not regulated in the past?
What solutions are proposed?