Monday, April 11, 2011


Can it really be ok to dump chicken shit on a beach in Kauai?

by Larry Geller

Ok, all you readers on Oahu, riddle me this: If I went out on the public beach in front of my beachfront home and dumped piles of fertilizer (chicken shit) and wood shavings, how soon could I be expected to get a knock on the door for polluting the beach?

You’d think dumping chicken shit on a beach would be illegal. People who use the beach would complain, and because we still have some inspectors on Oahu (not laid off ones, I mean), someone might actually go out, take a look, and take action.

Well, move now to Kauai. Joan Conrow has documented this dumping by posting pictures. She reports that a homeowner wants to advance the growth of plants on the beach so as to lay claim to the land. So the chicken shit is fertilizer. It’s still chicken shit, though. It’s still being dumped on the beach sand.

But that’s Kauai, not Oahu. If the beaches are state property, it’s up to some part of the state government to enforce the law if it is being broken. Are there exceptions on Neighbor Islands? No, but why is there no prompt investigation and enforcement action?

Just consider the act of dumping chicken fertilizer on a beach. That ought to be good for a bit of a fine and corrective action, you’d think. Aside from fouling the beach, it pollutes the water. Animal waste needs to be disposed of properly, not thrown out on a beach.

Or is beach access, along with traffic laws, just things that nobody cares to enforce in this state? Why pass a law that exists only on paper?

The larger issue, of course, is whether beachfront homeowners can appropriate public property by plantings. That ought to be resolved one day in favor of beachgoers, but until then, perhaps the dumping question is more immediately workable.

I wonder if Joan will be able to post pictures of the beach cleaned up and resotred one day, with all the fertilizer and plants removed. If illegal, it should be at the homeowner’s expense.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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