Rusted nails plague beachgoers as illegal bonfires continue on Oahu

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It’s been about a year since we last looked into illegal bonfires and the dangers to beachgoers long after the flames go out.

Now, residents say there’s a known spot in Kahala where people hold illegal bonfires, and it often happens during a holiday weekend.

Makiki resident Ciera Obando says she’s picked up 30 pounds worth of nails from Kahala Beach in the last two weeks. That doesn’t include the 11 pounds of nails she collected over 30 minutes Sunday.

“I would love to be able to come to the beach and just cruise and enjoy, but it’s hard when I hop into the water with my son and there are five nails right there,” Obando said.

KHON2 picked up more than 20 nails on the beach, sticking up from the sand, in just five minutes Monday.

Obando thinks the nails come from wooden pallets used for illegal bonfires on the beach. KHON2 spotted charred remains and empty liquor bottles on the sand, and wooden pallets in an empty lot.

We learned anyone caught holding a bonfire on the sand can be fined up to $10,000.

“I think the biggest thing is we find a lot of pallets buried. I think the mindset is, ‘Oh, if we bury it, no harm, no foul. No one will get hurt by it,'” Obando said. “I don’t think they realize it gets exposed after awhile. Kids dig. We have unearthed a lot of stuff just by my kid looking, or a dog finding things.”

KHON2 reached out to the Kahala neighborhood board and learned the board alerted Honolulu’s police and fire departments, and state representatives about the problem.

“I’ve called police myself a couple of times and, you know, they move on pretty quickly if they’re doing something illegal. Police have a hard time,” said John Pyles, Kahala neighborhood board. “When people see it, they need to respond, call 911 and get someone down there.”

A year ago, beach cleanup volunteers were frustrated with the number of nails left behind at Sherwood Beach in Waimanalo.

“It’s literally destroying the place we call paradise. This can really go through somebody’s foot very easily. It has happened a lot on this beach,” said Kahala resident Kerwin Lum.

There are volunteer groups that regularly clean up the beaches. Visit the following links for more information:

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