Volunteers clean up Maunakea

  • Photo credit: Andre Perez

HILO — About 15 volunteers gathered at the Maunakea Access Road last weekend to clean detritus left behind from the temporarily halted anti-Thirty Meter Telescope demonstrations.

Protest leader Andre Perez said that, after two days of cleanup, volunteers among the protesters filled a dumpster with unclaimed materials left behind after the 5-month-long occupation of the access road ended in a temporary truce in December.

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“It’s not ideal, but there’s going to be stuff left behind at these things,” Perez said. “People who intend to come back and get their stuff, and they never do.”

Perez said that the protesters — who oppose the construction of TMT because they believe Maunakea to be sacred — remain committed to keeping the mountain clean.

They weren’t able to clear the abandoned property right away because of foul weather and because they had to prioritize moving their tents off of the access road, he said, but had consolidated the detritus into piles to prevent it from being scattered during the heavy rains two weeks ago.

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“Nobody cares about the mauna more than we do,” Perez said, adding that the weekend cleanup did not completely clear the area, but is a “big step forward” toward removing all the abandoned property.

Contrary to reports, the volunteers did not include TMT supporters, Perez said.