major military bases, Hawai'i is the most militarized zone in all of
the USA. Like many sites on the islands, Diamond Head Crater, the extinct
volcano at the end of Waikiki beach, is currently polluted with lead
from the time that it was used as a training range for pistol and rifle
fire by the US government's National Guard.
concern that as the bullets left in the soil degrade over time, there
may be a risk to human health. Fine grade soil can be carried by wind
as dust and breathed in by people and is the most likely way that people
would be affected.
affect almost every organ and system in the body. The most sensitive
is the central nervous system, particularly in children. Lead also damages
kidneys and the reproductive system. The effects are the same whether
it is breathed or swallowed.
lead poisoning has been known to be a life threatening hazard for a
very long time, it is only as of August 2004, that the National Guard
will start a soil reclamation project. They will use a soil washing
technique similar to gold mining that uses gravity to separate the lead
from the rest of the soil. This method has been chosen because it is
said to provide the least impact to visitors. In all, it is estimated
that about 21,000 tons of soil will be collected, stockpiled, and processed.
Environment News Service (ENS) 2004