The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality has received several complaints of littering and illegal trash dumping on Mt. Tapochau.
On Tuesday, May 7, the bureau was notified of several large piles of trash left at the Mt. Tapochau parking area and near the Chief Aiken Trail turnoff. There were also unsightly remains of tables and chairs left behind from an old souvenir stand.
The next day, May 8, BECQ litter inspectors, together with the Department of Lands and Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Recreation, investigated the site to determine who dumped the trash. The trash in the parking area appeared to be mostly from tour groups. The trash pile on the side of the road near the Chief Aiken Trail consisted mainly of Styrofoam cups, plastic bottles, and plates and forks dumped after the Stations of the Cross event in April.Division of Parks and Recreation personnel took immediate action to clean up the trash left behind and are coordinating efforts to remove the remains of the souvenir stand.
Eli Cabrera, director of Parks and Recreation, is looking for new bins to install at the Mt. Tapochau parking area to replace the bin from a previous sponsor that had been removed. Presently, an agency has not been designated to maintain the site; however, Parks and Recreation will be visiting the site every week to ensure that the area is clear of trash.
Mt. Tapochau is a very popular tourist attraction on Saipan for its battleground history during World War II and its breathtaking view of the island. The site is also sacred ground for the local community because it is the home of the Stations of the Cross erected each year on Good Friday.
Unfortunately, other heavily visited sites around Saipan, such as the Forbidden Island Beach, Jeffrey’s Beach, and San Juan Beach, have similar littering and illegal dumping issues.
BECQ administrator Frank Rabauliman wants to remind the community that littering is prohibited by the Litter Control Act of 1989 and violators are subject to penalties between $200 and $500 per violation, as well as community service. Open dumping is also prohibited by the Solid Waste Management Act and violators are subject to penalties of up to $1,000 per violation per day.
If you witness littering or illegal trash dumping, report these violations to Dave Chargualaf or Greg Reyes at the BECQ Division of Environmental Quality office at 664-8500. (BECQ)