Early on Saturday, October 23 a blue helicopter with large spray wings attached sprayed the edges of the canefields in Pa‘ia. There were strong and variable winds and the spray blew directly into many nearby residences. Pa‘ia houses emptied as families stepped outside to gawk in awe as the flying sprayer made pass after pass along the canefields at the edge of town.
Moon Over Haleakala inquired of HC&S as to what was being sprayed so close to homes, children and old people – and why?
A&B spokesperson Meredith Ching was kind enough to find out what was going on and to send the Moon a detailed account of the spraying that day. Her full account and a sample of scientific controversy surrounding 2,4-D is on page 14. Our photo gallery of the spraying, and the links to internet sites describing the ongoing controversy surrounding health risks and the approvals for such wide use of 2,4-D are available at our website, mauimoonnews.com.
Below is Moon Over Haleakala staffer Madeline Ziecker’s personal account of events that Saturday morning.
“I was “gently” awakened Saturday morning by the roar of a helicopter propeller buzzing right across the street above the cane, like an annoying fly about to land. Except this particular fly was spraying an unidentified substance on a windy day directly into my front door and on to my breakfast.
Curiosity and mild angst brought me out to the road with my camera. I was surprised to find my neighbors (with whom I’ve never exchanged more than a nod) lined up on Baldwin, squinting in the sunlight at this disruptive and eerie occurrence, chattering away and pulling out camera phones.
I walked down the Pa’ia bypass road to get a panoramic view of the aircraft. As I was standing on the dirt mound, waiting for my next shot, I felt the slightest mist…
I placed myself in the line of fire by chasing the helicopter with my camera, but what if I had been innocently taking a morning walk? I want to know what fluid graced my skin on Saturday morning, in public, in the middle of Pa‘ia. I want to know who says that this is acceptable, and I want to be assured that whatever they are spraying in my neighborhood will not cause me and those surrounding me short or long term health defects. Is that so much to ask?