In response to people and businesses that illegally dump trash, sludge, construction waste and old vehicles in rural land around Waianae, the Honolulu City Council voted on Wednesday to increase fines for illegal dumping island-wide. 

The measures now advance to the desk of Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

Sophie Cocke/Civil Beat

Under Bill 36, violators would face fines of as much as $5,000 per violation, up from $1,000 per incident.

Repeat offenders can be fined twice that amount if the violation occurred within a five-year period, and could face criminal prosecution if it occurred within the past year. 

The measure was introduced by Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who represents the Leeward coast. 

She said that illegal dumping had become pervasive in her district, as well as other rural areas, because fines are too low.

People were profiting from illegal dumping by getting paid to remove material, Pine told Civil Beat.

“The fines were so much less that they saw it as a windfall for them. So making fines steeper would make a person think twice,” she said.

The bill also allows the director of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting to require that illegally graded land be restored to its previous condition within 30 days. 

The council also passed two related measures introduced by Pine. Bill 35 tightens controls on stockpiling soil and Bill 37 increases penalties for grading without a permit.

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