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Oʻahu’s Foam Ban Deferred

November 28, 2017

After months of waiting for Oʻahu’s foam ban (Bill 71) to be scheduled for a hearing, the committee on Public Works, Infrastructure, & Sustainability finally heard the bill on November 15. With 3 hours of public testimony, we witnessed an amazing turnout of our community to support Bill 71 with owners of foam free restaurants, state representatives, and residents from all over the island present to testify in support of the bill.

Despite the wide support and dispelling of myths that banning foam would be bad for business, Carol Fukunaga chose to defer the bill, using her power as chair of the committee, to silence a bill that had some of the most overwhelming public support. It is now only up to her whether it will be introduced again. Despite the disappointing outcome, many council members in the room began to see through the tactics of plastic industry lobbyists and also seemed increasingly compelled by both the importance and feasibility of a foam ban. With both Maui and Hawaii counties having already passed foam bans this year, Oʻahu County is sure to follow. It is just a matter of time for our local representatives to catch up to what the vast majority of our population wants – a Plastic Free Hawaiʻi. A foam ban, just like the plastic bag ban, is one easy and important way Hawaiʻi can be part of the solution and lead by example in our commitment to reduce waste and protect our natural environment.

Mahalo to all who continue to stand with us to protect our oceans and wildlife. Please stay tuned as we continue our efforts to ban foam and reduce single-use plastics in Hawaiʻi.

For the full story on what happened to Bill 71, check out the Surfrider Foundation Oʻahu Chapter blog here.