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Please stop Roundup spraying

Updated: 
March 16, 2017 - 12:05am

My name is Kami Carter and I am deeply concerned with the seemingly never ending and blatant over-spraying of Roundup on our town’s parks, roadsides, neighborhoods and schools. The tell-tale sign is the bright yellow to dark brown dead vegetation line both sides of the highways from Kona to Waimea on to Hilo and Pahoa areas and Volcano. Our roadsides have been saturated completely and totally from top to bottom, sometimes up 15 feet on the hillsides. The spray is never-ending.

Today is windy with gusts up to 15-20 mph and the herbicide spraying sign is up by the liquor store in Waimea and ends near the Puu Nani district even though the entire route is perfectly clear of vegetation and already brown and dead from the previous spray. I can’t even think about how many people will be unknowingly exposed.

The school bus stop route is along the spray path and it will be wet and the kids and parents will be walking all over it. This is not fair, some people can not handle the toxicity of Roundup like others. A few moments exposure to the spray can put a chemically sensitive person in bed for weeks. Did you know Roundup (and its combined ingredients) exposure can put humans at risk for liver disease a study found, as well as kidney failure, asthma and more.

According to the manufacturer’s labeling, Roundup should not be inhaled or come into contact with skin and eyes. Inhalation can result in coughing, nausea, headaches and difficulty breathing. Skin contact can result in a burning rash, numbness, swelling or eczema. Roundup can cause severe eye irritation or burns. Clothing that has soaked in Roundup should be thrown away because it can’t be completely washed out of it. Pets and livestock can become sick or die from eating plants that have recently been sprayed with Roundup.

How would anyone who walked in between the signs know they were walking on recently sprayed wet grass? Children are so susceptible to exposure to Roundup and they are exposed so often from several different entities.

Many local schools are using the chemical along sidewalks, basketball courts, in between classrooms and campus grounds. Often spraying while children are on the property. The public parks are saturated, every tree stump is overly painted with burns. The neighborhoods are hosed with the stuff, our storm drains, mailboxes, sidewalks, every single surface of our roadsides is Roundup’ed.

I have started a grassroots group on Facebook called Ban Roundup Hawaii with almost 800 members who would like to see the state and county take more efforts to reduce the public’s exposure to the indiscriminate spraying of a probable carcinogen that has genuine science (not industry based) reviews and articles stating the many health problems associated with Roundup exposure.

There are steam machines in Australia that can kill weeds at the root. There are nonprofits such as Beyond Pesticides willing to help the state reduce the need for herbicides in public places like our parks. There are Adopt a Highway programs that can be tailored to include citizen manual weed control. There’s permaculture, planting species that can be tailored to the landscape and requires very little maintenance. We can hire out goats, create movable pens for trained goats and that could be a great job opportunity or project. There are solutions out there, but we must realize what we are doing is not working anymore, it never did. We must break away from our Roundup addiction. I am begging the state of Hawaii to stop poisoning us. We must do better.

Kami Carter is a resident of Waimea.

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