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Hazardous debris from Lahaina fire to be shipped to US mainland: report

Hazardous debris from Lahaina fire to be shipped to US mainland
Source: Video Screenshot

The debris from the Lahaina fire, which includes contaminated waste like a special Hawaiian building material made from sugarcane fiber and termite poison, will be shipped to the mainland United States, reported.

Toxic debris from Lahaina fire to be shipped to US mainland while authorities address contamination issues

Fires in Hawaii have caused concerns about the extent of pollution in the affected areas. Previous fire incidents have shown that the remains of destroyed cities can contain dangerous materials that make the cleanup process more difficult.

“The amount of debris generated from major disaster events, on the low end, maybe five to 10 times annual waste-generation in a given community,” said Nazli Yesiller, director of the Global Waste Research Institute at California Polytechnic State University.

Exposure to these toxic substances can cause skin irritation, breathing issues, and even more serious health problems over time, including cancer. The debris in Lahaina also contains a unique building material called Canec, made from sugarcane fibers and treated with arsenic to repel termites. This material was used in structures from the 1930s to 1960s and poses a risk to health.

Standard tests for soil contamination might not fully capture the extent of the problem, experts warn. Specific tests are needed to identify the contaminants present in the soil. Residents and cleanup crews need to be cautious due to the immediate health risks posed by interacting with contaminated environments.

As the cleanup process begins in Lahaina, hazardous household waste like propane tanks, asbestos, ammunition, and pesticides is being removed. The collected debris will be stored temporarily in a safe location while authorities work on addressing the contamination issues.

Lahaina plagued by hazardous debris, chemicals and undrinkable water

Around 2,700 buildings were wrecked by the strong and windy flames, and at least 101 individuals have tragically passed away, according to The Guardian. The main efforts are currently aimed at searching and rescuing the victims’ bodies, along with helping the many displaced survivors. However, there’s a lot of burnt debris that must be cleared away from the island before communities can start recovering and healing.

In and around Lahaina, you can still smell the burning debris and chemicals in the air, Washington Post reported. Some of the smell is coming from abandoned vans and cars with their wheels melted in puddles on the streets. There are also piles of twisted metal, lots of burnt washing machines, and melted weightlifting sets. Even though the fire is getting weaker, there’s still danger for the people of Maui. They’re going back to their neighborhoods that are now burnt and destroyed.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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