Roughly 1,000 community members participated in the annual Islandwide Cleanup last May 31 that was hosted by the Environmental Awareness Committee.
Islandwide Cleanup coordinator Emma Iriarte said that 34 groups and about 1,000 people were scattered across the island during the cleanup last weekend.
“We did cover all the island coasts. We had the Federal Emergency Management Agency do Old Man by the Sea, we had Saipan Southern High School YEA club do Obyan, even those hard-to-reach areas, we had volunteers pick those areas. We also did Beach Road, someone even took Suicide Cliff. Pau Pau was even cleaned up,” she said.
The groups, Iriarte said, were a mix of government agencies, private sectors, hotels, school groups, non-profit organizations, and even a baseball team.
Zabrina Shai, Environmental Awareness Committee chairwoman, said this was the first time the usual monthlong event was shortened to a week because of Super Typhoon Yutu recovery efforts.
Shai said that the Islandwide Cleanup is a staple event during Environmental Awareness Month, along with the Environmental Expo. These events focus on spreading awareness about the importance of eliminating pollution on the islands.
“That’s what we want to raise—awareness. You can’t know there’s a problem unless we raise awareness. The environment is our home and the most important thing is keeping it clean and realizing that trash is pollution. We want to spread awareness about taking ownership of our trash and our island to make it beautiful again, healthy again, for all of us to grow and live in,” Shai said.
The event was made possible by the committee with the help of partner agencies like the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, and the Department of Public Works.
The committee has yet to release the weight of how much trash was collected this year compared to last year.