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Lucia M., HI

I live in the beautiful state of Hawaii, on the island on Maui. I was shocked to discover that we have terrible air quality here, even with a population of only 150,000 in the middle of the ocean. The reason is largely because of the many thousands of acres of sugar cane, grown and harvested here year round.

When the cane is harvested it is first burned. It is not just the cane that is burned, but also the plastic irrigation pipes throughout the fields. This toxic smoke not only blows into the neighborhoods close to the fields every day, but all over the island. You can see the particulate on sidewalks and decks quite commonly.

We have a very high rate of all lung diseases - cancer, asthma and COPD. I started to have episodes of wheezing within months of moving here, for the first time in my life.

It is unconscionable that the powerful corporations are allowed to get away with creating this health hazard. I am sharing so that others will know what goes on here, and with the hopes that it will change. Thank you.

First published: April 30, 2015

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