Amount of beach litter goes up as many stay home

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Posted on Mar 20 2020
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Staff of Rep. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan) helps clear trash bins along the beaches that were found overflowing with garbage. (Contributed Photo)

With the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, sanitation and keeping the environment clean for public health is key, according to Rep. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan), who is calling on everyone to be responsible, to work together, and to take part in ensuring that the entire island remains clean.

“I understand our community and the rest of the world is dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus but we cannot forget about our environment around us,” he said. “Although we are seeing a huge decline in our tourist visitors, we still need to do our part as a community to keep our islands clean and beautiful.”

Camacho made the statement upon seeing trash bins overflowing with, as well as trees lined with, garbage, particularly near beaches.

“We cannot simply rely on our government to do everything for us, we have to work together during these difficult times especially with a lot of the suspensions in government services being implemented,” he said.

Camacho stressed that the Department of Lands and Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Recreation does a fantastic job maintaining the cleanliness of the beach, and is asking for the community to help keep it up.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres himself stressed the importance of environmental and health safety when he directed that the landfill remains open despite the two-week government shutdown, following the signing of Executive Order 2020-04 last Monday that declared CNMI under the state of public health emergency.

“When you look at it, it’s not just an environmental issue; it becomes a public health issue,” Torres said.

The landfill operations are essential, as is keeping the islands clean and trash-free, as the CNMI continues its vigilance to implement preventative measures related to COVID-19.

The CNMI’s anti-littering law prohibits illegal dumping, including the depositing of trash generated at home or business into any public trash container, except those found at transfer stations.

Littering, under the law, means throwing, dropping, placing, depositing, sweeping, discarding, abandoning, or otherwise disposing of any litter on land or water in other than appropriate litter containers or areas designated for such purpose.

“It is just so sad to continue seeing large amounts of trash and even household trash being left behind our beaches,” Camacho said. “We are a strong and resilient community and I humbly implore everyone to please, please at least pick up after our own trash before we leave our beaches.”

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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