Are there other environmental issues these days? Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S), which operates the last mill on Maui, grows sugar on 37,000 acres. For much of the year, company workers burn the fields when the cane has grown about two years. This burning releases a great deal of smoke and ash which contain particulates that can exacerbate respiratory disease, especially in children and the elderly. HC&S–a wholly owned subsidiary of the very powerful Alexander & Baldwin Co.–does this because they’ve done it for more than a century, and no one on the island is yet powerful enough to make them stop. If everyone on the island rose up and demanded that they stop, then that might do it, but we’re a long way from that.
Photo: Sean M. Hower