SUBJECT: ENVIROMENTAL DANGERS
SOURCE: JUAN WILSON email@example.com
POSTED: 5 FEBRUARY 2008 - 5:30pm HST
Did a Monsanto container of pesticide hit bridge?
image above: Damaged panel covering utility lines on Kaumualii Highway Bridge over Hanapepe River
Photo by Juan Wilson.
My wife, Linda Pascatore, myself and a house guest were told to evacuate the from the valley at about 6:00pm. We drove our cars out of the valley, past the Monsanto headquarters offices on Awawa Road. At that time the river water was up to the arches of the 1911 one lane bridge carrying Hanapepe Road. The county had closed the bridge.
We were forced to go around Moi Road and go over the Kaumualii Highway two lane bridge. About that time the container must have been approaching the 1911 bridge.
We drove up to Eleele to wait out the imminent danger at Grinds Cafe. About this time the 40 foot shipping container came down the Hanapepe River. We ate at Grinds and came back down to check the flooding. We stopped in Old Hanapepe Town to speak to friends Rick and Anna Raimondi. They live against the levee near the pedestrian Swinging Bridge. They told us that a Matson container from up river had just passed and had struck the swinging foot bridge that is normally about fifteen feet above the water.
We headed to the 1911 one-lane bridge to see the height of the river. We were told the shipping container had struck the bridge and worked its way under one of the arches. We headed to the Kaumualii Bridge and were told that the container had hit the bridge and broken up on one of the bridge supports and that the bridge would likely be closed.
We got over the highway bridge and headed around to Awawa Road to go up the valley towards home before the highway was to be closed. A crowd of our neighbors was gathered at the beginning of Awawa Road where Monsanto's Hanapepe valley headquarters building (the Seto building) is located.
The neighbor's reports were that the container had come from further upriver, at the Monsanto's Dekalb facility on the other bank. They had been told by county workers that there were three containers that may come down the valley. The fear was that if more containers came down the river they might block the flow of water under the bridges and cause a topping of the levee.
Many people at the bridge reported that the container was filled with chemicals and pesticides. They said that noxious fumes that filled the area around the Kaumualii Bridge when the container broke up.
We all huddled in the dark. The Kali family and their friends broke out ukes and guitars and someone opened a cooler of beer. Things were going to be okay. We waited a while and no more containers floated down the river as the water subsided.
The next day we heard more eye witness accounts of toxics being released. One neighbor familiar with glyphosate (Roundup) said it was another pesticide but could not identify it. Another neighbor claimed to have seen packaging of items in the container that had warnings symbols on them.
It seems plausible that Monsanto had toxic chemicals packaged and stored in
Besides the possibility of damaging the bridges that are the lifeline in our community, these forty foot containers could be bio-hazard bombs that poison the river, its embankments, and the ocean beyond. As of today, no one knows where that container is.
Hanapepe Bay is an area where fish breed and commercial fishing is done. Is a container of pesticide now dissolving into our waters? Will toxins migrate to the nearby Salt Pond Beach Park?
Monsanto could answer some questions.
1) Are you missing a container?
2) What was in it?
3) What is in the other containers?
4) Can you secure them so flood water can't reach them?
I suggest that Monsanto should not be allowed to store quantities of poisonous chemicals in Matson containers that are simply left on the ground in a flood plain. Such material should not be used at all, but certainly it should not be stored where it could be washed into the river by a day or two of rain, and spread poison on its way to the ocean. Monsanto should be held liable for such things.
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