Styrofoam creates hazard on Leeward beach

Published On: May 19 2012 07:47:37 PM HST   Updated On: May 19 2012 04:49:00 PM HST
KAPOLEI, Hawaii -

The rocky shoreline along Campbell Industrial Park catches all types of debris.

However, what environmental watchdog Carroll Cox came across Friday is not only an eyesore but potentially lethal.

The stretch of shoreline is covered with large and very small balls of Styrofoam.

Cox said the chemicals in the foam are a health hazard to marine life.

"If fish, or marine mammal, or turtles ingest this at large quantities, it could possibly cause a fatal reaction," said Cox.

Cox said the foam also poses a safety concern to local fishermen, who grill up the fish to eat.
One fisherman said the Styrofoam came ashore last week.

"It's bad, its bad, but it's going to be a hell of a thing to clean it up," said William.

The foam is breaking up on the sharp rocks which will make it even hard to clean-up.

"You can see the tide spread it all over the place and I think the longer you take the worst it will get," said fisherman Xavier Sawa.

Cox believes it's impossible to remove all the foam and said there's no telling how far it will reach before it is removed.

Some of the foam is attached to broken pieces of concrete slabs which are also washing onshore.

Cox said it is likely part of the floating docks from the Keehi Boat Harbor that were destroyed during 2011 tsunami and drifted.

Cox said his most recent discovery, is only the beginning of what could possibly be a much larger problem for the state with more garbage expected to move in from the Japan tsunami.

"Are we geared up to respond to this? The answer is no, because if this creeps in as it did and lay here for days and go undetected and only by accident then I don't believe we're ready," said Cox.

The state Department of Health said investigators will go out to the site on Monday.


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