Trash poured into the Ala Wai Canal this week as heavy rains pounded Oahu. Work crews removed several dump-truck sized loads from the notoriously polluted waterway. 

It’s nothing new for the canal that has a history of being inundated by sewage spills and trash. 

Ironically, Hawaii’s Department of Health argued in the early 20th century that Waikiki’s wetlands needed to be filled in and the canal created for sanitary reasons. 

Here’s a brief history of how the canal came to be. The archival photos and footage are particularly interesting.  

(The views expressed are those of the filmmakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Civil Beat.)