- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Residents are calling for Maui’s last sugar cane plantation to stop burning fields, claiming the smoke is causing adverse health effects.

A group called Stop Cane Burning wants the Department of Health to implement a moratorium on the practice until the regulatory group can figure out a more scientific way to call no-burn days, KHON-TV reported (https://bit.ly/1ARnDjY ).

Deputy Director of Environmental Health Keith Kawaoka says the department is investigating the high levels of smoke reported last week coming from a plantation owned by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company.

The department currently bases its recommendations on weather conditions.

“We’re also looking at what ways we can improve on the prediction of the dispersion of the smoke,” he said.

Kawaoka says the department has heard some of the schools in Kihei and its surrounding area were affected by the smoke.

“And we do take that very seriously,” Kawaoka said.

Group leader Karen Chun says she got involved after her granddaughter she started having breathing problems and had to be rushed to the hospital.

“And I tell you there is nothing scarier than having a limp 2 year old who can’t breathe and you’re rushing them to the hospital and you’re hoping that you get to the hospital before they die,” said Chun.

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Information from: KHON-TV, https://khon.com

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