Hawaii legislators push for enhanced environmental monitoring in Maui following Lahaina wildfires

In the wake of the Lahaina wildfires, Hawaii lawmakers are advancing legislation to fund ongoing air and water quality monitoring in Maui.

Marcel Honore reports for Honolulu Civil Beat.


In short:

  • House Bills 1839 and 1840 aim to fund environmental health specialists and aquatic biologists for monitoring air and water quality in Maui post-wildfires.
  • The bills respond to the long-term health concerns from the August 8 wildfires, which left significant waste and pollutants.
  • The Department of Health estimates more than $4 million yearly for operating air quality sampling stations, while the Department of Land and Natural Resources projects around $260,000 annually for water monitoring.

Key quote:

“We need our legislators to care about us. Imagine if you were living in this situation, what would you want for your family?”

— Joanna Nakihei, Lahaina resident

Why this matters:

Continuous monitoring of air and water quality is essential to safeguard the health of Maui residents and to understand the broader environmental consequences of such disasters. This initiative reflects a proactive approach to disaster response and environmental protection, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and resilience in the face of climate-related challenges.

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