Kaua‘i County is preparing for the impacts of climate change, and officials are getting the community involved in the development of plans to protect the island’s natural resources. Kaua‘i’s new strategy for facing global warming is the Climate Adaptation Plan, which is aimed at developing and building on the county’s existing 2018 General Plan. The CAP “will present a framework of actions to ensure people, places and natural and built systems are able to adapt to and mitigate climate change,” according to its mission statement. The issue is more pressing now than ever.
China announced a “National Sword” policy in 2018, effectively shutting down the global market for rubbish from around the globe that would have otherwise been bound for treatment facilities in the nation. Those facilities sorted and compacted waste the rest of the world thought was recyclable, but an overwhelming number of materials received were contaminated, generating an unsatisfactory amount of solid waste.
That decision has not only reignited calls for better education surrounding the cleaning and sorting of personal recyclables before they hit a processing facility but has slowed down efforts from municipalities across the state altogether. Kaua’i officials say that the process to make more room for the materials once sent halfway across the world is ongoing, as they adapt to a changing environment and listen continuously to concerned constituents. A big part of the solution will be letting residents and visitors know how dire the situation is becoming so they can be aware and help. “It all starts with public education and outreach,” said Keola Aki, coordinator of Kaua‘i County’s recycling program.