Cleaning the shores of Saipan is something that 5-year-old Ulumar Ogumoro-Uludong considers fun and he wishes that more people his age would make an effort to pick up trash as well.
His father, Aling Ogumoro, himself a Division of Environmental Quality employee, shared that he and his son have been doing this for a total of eight times over the past two years.
Last Saturday, Ulumar’s 3-year-old sister, Amaya, joined her father and brother for the first time to pick up trash at Sugar Dock. They were joined by several DEQ personnel, students, and community members for the DEQ monthly cleanup.
Aling Ogumoro said he and his children make it an effort to come out every month to ensure that the environment is clean for residents and tourists alike. “It is all our responsibility, no matter how old, to maintain our islands.”
Seven seniors from the Saipan Southern High School’s Youth Environmental Ambassadors were also up early Saturday morning to join the cleanup.
“DEQ makes it easier for us to clean the beaches because we show up and they have the materials and they also take the trash afterwards,” said YEA adviser and SSHS teacher Roy Adsit. “My message to the community would be not to throw your trash.”
The group was the recipient of the Green School Award at MINA’s Green Gala last year.
The Saipan Mocyang Church group was also in attendance. Member Catherine Norach said the cleanup was the first the group has participated in and that they are “trying to get the youth more involved in the environment.” She added that they are making it a point to be a more “green” organization this year.
The cleanup was originally planned to take place at Old Man by the Sea but was moved to Sugar Dock due to the recent inclement weather.
According to DEQ director Frank Rabauliman, the monthly cleanups started in 1997 and have never stopped since then. “Our job is to do outreach and encourage everybody to be environmental stewards.”
He shared that 30 people on average participate in the monthly cleanup.
One of the places on Saipan that Rabauliman said is in dire need of maintenance is the old Koblerville runway. He said that on some occasions dump trucks dispose garbage at the site. “It is our mess, our responsibility, our island and we have to keep it beautiful.”