Chinatown trash ordinance being ripped apart


The city’s new ordinance for trash pick-up for Chinatown Businesses has become a literal dumpster fire.

Back on August 8th, New Life Church in Nu’uanu had a trash pile that had sat outside of their facility for days. It was eventually lit on fire, and had to be extinguished by the Honolulu Fire Department.

It’s a symptom of Honolulu’s rule that went into effect on June 1st, demanding that trash be put into bags in order to be picked up every morning.

The well-intentioned rule is being thwarted by those ripping open and rummaging the waste.

“It happens once shops close at night, sometimes even in broad daylight.” said an anonymous business owner.

“The trash has to be bagged up now so they’re going out and buying the bags, they’re putting it out in the evening, but by the morning time they’re coming back and it’s all been spread out it’s all been ripped open.” Chinatown Business & Community Association member James Logue said.

“So they’re re-bagging the trash hoping that later that evening it survives that night so it can be picked up in the morning trash pickup.” he added.

City garbage collectors do not pick up trash that is not bagged.

Some in the area think the problem has crossed the line, now that it is effecting their bottom line.

“We try our best as business owners to keep the street in front of us clean. We don’t want customers smelling the foul smell too and what not it will deter them away from shopping with us.” added the anonymous business owner.

Chinatown Business & Community Association President Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock wants to see the issue cleaned up for her tax paying constituents.

“Get rid of it because it’s not healthy for anyone.” Shubert-Kwock said.

“Tourists come by and say wow all this garbage is stinky! Rats come, it’s just no good for anyone. If it’s trash, come pick it up! Don’t say oh it’s got to be wrapped it’s not a present! Don’t tie it with a bow. Nobody going to tie it with a bow. If they don’t like it we don’t like it either.” she added.

A resolution will be difficult with different agencies picking up trash in the area. The Department of Environmental Services handles the city refuse but the Parks Department handles bins in their territory in Chinatown. Trash can often be piled across those lines.

“It’s going to take a lot of brain storming.” Logue said.

“One of the solutions that I think would help would be evening time trash pick up but of course there’s issues with traffic when it’s too dark out in those hours, things like that. So I think it’s going to take a good group effort of people sitting down to see what we can do because the trash bags are a good idea.”

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