Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Rant on Garbage

I always assumed Hawaii was an environmentally friendly state.  After all, it's a miniscule land mass surrounded by a very large ocean.  Both land and water are to be respected, protected, honored.  That's the Hawaiian way.  It's apparently not the way of non-Hawaiian decision-makers who live in Hawaii.

I worked in a position where I got up close and personal with sewage treatment facilities.  Even the little kit-built plants we operated on the Hetchy treated at least to the secondary level, some to the tertiary level.  Statewide, the large plants all treat to the tertiary level -- discharging water that is not drinkable, but appropriate for golf course and other non-food irrigation.  Some treated solid waste is used as fertilizer.

Officials in Honolulu are outraged that the EPA is demanding the City upgrades to secondary treatment. That means they can no longer discharge water back into the environment after  skimming off the floaty stuff, then settling out 50% of the solids and 25-40% of something called biochemical oxygen demand.

My father left an assortment of prescription drugs, which he hated taking.  My parents shared a primary care physician, who prescribed most of those drugs.  He has told my mom that she can take one of them as needed.  There are a bunch of other drugs we need to get rid of.

The Honolulu garbage disposal website,, says that liquid medications should be poured down the drain.   Pills go into the regular garbage.  Taped closed to discourage children from opening the containers.

I cringe.  Anything that goes down the drain ends up in the sewer.  Wreaks havoc in the treatment plants.  But not in Honolulu.  Those beasties sensitive to chemicals in the system are used in secondary treatment.  They don't do secondary treatment here.

One medication in particular is a testosterone-based gel.  It comes in little foil packets.  A man can overdose by using too many packets in one day.  The package label and the package insert warn in several places that this product should NOT be handled by females.

The box is now in the garbage can, securely taped and double bagged.  Vicoden, methodone, and other pills popular in illegal drug circles go into the same garbage can.  There is no option.

Someone in California suggested that pill containers should be opened and the contents poured into plastic bags filled with used kitty litter!   Puppy poop would be equally effective.

Give thanks for those who think before disposing of potentially hazardous materials, from lei string and  those plastic things that hold together cans and bottles in the market, to fluorescent light tubes and used batteries and disposable diapers.

Don't forget to pray ....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments remind me that I am not writing into a vaccuum, or simply for personal therapy. Please comment often!