- The County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is helping control Dengue fever on Hawaii Island through increased waste disposal, adding Saturday and Sunday transfer station hours through April so residents can drop off items that hold water and facilitate mosquito breeding.
- In another measure to reduce breeding, the DEM's Solid Waste Division is collecting and recycling old tires. The Temporary Dengue Residential Tire Amnesty Collection Program, originally to run until the end of March, was extended through June and will be further extended if necessary.
- Hawaii County Civil is also taking residents' calls to report mosquito hazards on private and public properties, working with Community Emergency Response teams to see that litter and yard waste are removed.
Cleaning up litter and other debris is critical to controlling diseases like Dengue. Cans, bottles, and especially tires become public health and environmental problems during outbreaks, turning to breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitos. Mosquitos have infected 263 people on the island of Hawaii since September 2015, calling on the Solid Waste Division's 22 recycling and transfer stations to work overtime since November to help combat the problem. They are receiving volumes of residents’ passenger vehicle, motorcycle, and ATV tires with no rims.
The division continues to work alongside health and other agencies to support Hawaii during what has turned into an extended emergency period to control all mosquito-borne illnesses.
"The response to Dengue on Hawaii Island is an active partnership between government, health care providers, non-profits, businesses, and our residents. Mahalo to all those in our community who are working to stop this outbreak," said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira in a statement, as reported in Waste360.
The solid waste industry has stepped in during public health crises before, lending support through their special areas of focus, including recently during the Flint, MI water crisis.