It is time for destructive farming practices to stop

By Karen Chun

I have never before criticized the biannual cane burning behind my house, but the recent burn was outrageous. I was in my house working when a blanket of choking smoke smothered Paia. I and my dogs were coughing and couldn’t breathe. I grabbed them, got into my car and left.

For the next few days, soot and fine topsoil covered my home with a thick film. I would wipe my table and the towel would turn black. An hour later, I could draw designs in the newly deposited grime.

This is terrible for the aina. Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar is destroying the topsoil, creating dust bowl conditions and transferring the precious topsoil into our lungs, our houses and onto the reef, where it smothers the coral.

HC&S claims that it employs 800 people, but how many of those people are imported from other countries? More than half, I’m guessing. Studies have shown if HC&S converted to growing food for Maui, it would employ more people and could use better farming practices that don’t deplete the topsoil and make our lives unbearable.

It is time for HC&S to stop its outdated and destructive farming practices.

One comment

  • Megan Wells

    I used to work with Nishiki and Senator Rick Reed in late 80’s early 90’s. Rick told me that he initiated a 5 yr study on cane burning that used public funds and was done by Helath Dept. He told us that upon completion the study was not released although he was allowed to read it. He said it would have shut the cane industry down immediately had it been released. Showed highest repiritory illness per capita directly related to cane burning in US