The bad weather this weekend didn’t stop the residents of Rota from coming out and making a difference.
On Sept. 20, 2013, the people of Rota came out in full force to clean up their island and protect their oceans from marine debris entering their waterways. The Ocean Conservancy’s 28th International Coastal Cleanup on Rota was sponsored by the Coastal Resources Management Office and the Office of the Mayor. The event was held in conjunction with the Rota mayor’s islandwide cleanup in preparation for the San Francisco fe Borja Fiesta scheduled this October.
More than 27 percent of Rota’s population—or a grand total of 699 volunteers—disregarded the bad weather and came out to volunteer.
Land-based participants who cleaned the villages, roadways, shorelines, and beaches included personnel from the departments of Public Works, Lands and Natural Resources, Commerce, Public Works, Public Lands, Labor, Community and Cultural Affairs, and Finance; Commonwealth Health Center, Commonwealth Ports Authority, Rota Municipal Council, Dr. Rita Inos Jr/High School, Rota Elementary School, Grace Christian Academy, Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja Catholic School, Cape Air United Express, Freedom Air, Star Marianas, Rota Resort & Country Club, Philippine Association, Northern Marianas College, and the Transportation Security Agency.
Water-based divers that worked to clean the ocean harbors consisted of personnel from the Department of Public Safety and its Boating Division.
The Coastal Resources Management Office also coordinated a special contest with IT&E marketing coordinator Brad Ruszala who donated three special prize packages on behalf of IT&E to the public/private school group who collected the most trash. IT&E just happened to be on the island during the cleanup activities to sponsor a scheduled promotion and offered to donate prizes for the most trash collected.
The students welcomed the additional challenge. The winners all came from the Dr. Rita Inos Jr./High School, with the first prize going out to Therese Manalang and group, second prize to Daisy Barcinas and group, and third prize to Elvira Mesngon and group for the most trash collected.
This year’s volunteers were able to remove over 3,837 lbs of trash from the island’s ecosystem, which is an increase of about 854 lbs of trash from last year’s coastal cleanup.
William Pendergrass, coordinator of the Coastal Resources Management Office and country coordinator for Ocean Conservancy, attributed the increase to the Dr. Rita Inos Jr./High students targeting one of the island’s illegal dumping areas and possibly the ITE contest.
“I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to all who gave their time and hard work toward the success of the International Coastal Cleanup this year, with special thanks to the following businesses who donated bottled water to keep the participants hydrated: Cape Air United Express, Ace Hardware, Three Kings Store, and Sinapalo Safeway. In addition, I would like to thank Fred Barcinas of D&J Equipment Rentals for assisting with the hauling of trash to the dumping site, Division of Environmental Quality, Gary Toves, Division of Fish & Wildlife Robert Ulloa, Freedom Air, William Pendergrass II, Cape Air United Express, Jerome Fugihira, and Coastal Resources Management Tehani Kirby-Joab and Benjamin C. Norita who assisted with the overall coordination of all the activities,” said Pendergrass. (PR)