CNMI celebrates CNMI Recycles Week; America Recycles Day
Sustainability advocates across the CNMI celebrated America Recycles Day and CNMI Recycles Week last week. The week’s activities emphasized the CNMI’s continued commitment to achieving more sustainable consumption and production, and included a proclamation signing on Saipan, the kickoff of the Tinian Municipality’s Recycling Program, and an outreach on Rota centered on the “3 Rs”: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
On Nov. 15, 2022, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was joined by representatives from the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, and the Office of Planning and Development as Nov. 13 to 19 was proclaimed as “CNMI Recycles Week.”
Giving brief remarks before signing the proclamation, Torres encouraged everyone in the community to “acknowledge and take part in the efforts to combat climate change, promote sustainable living, and protect our environment for our children and the future generations of our great Commonwealth.”
Also on Nov. 15, 2022, on Tinian, the Mayor’s Office of Tinian and Aguiguan celebrated America Recycles Day and CNMI Recycles Week with a ceremony that featured the kickoff of the Tinian Municipality’s Recycling Program and a handoff of eight recycling bins to Tinian Junior Senior High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, also known as the Stallion Battalion. The Stallion Battalion has been leading collection and recycling efforts on Tinian since 2021, through a special “Project-Based Learning” class period at TJSHS.
In his opening remarks, Tinian and Aguiguan Mayor Edwin P. Aldan highlighted ongoing efforts to operate the Tinian Transfer Station at full capacity and to obtain a small communities exemption landfill permit for Tinian’s landfill from BECQ. Aldan also noted Tinian’s collaboration with the Department of Public Works and OPD on the Tinian Zero Waste Study and Pilot Project, and noted that Tinian is looking forward to collaborating further with the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors’ CNMI Universal Garbage Collection Task Force.
“What better time to start, than now, to educate and inspire one another to practice responsible
consumption, decrease waste, and properly recycle to protect our environment and marine ecosystem. …I encourage you all to do your part and continue spreading knowledge and raising awareness. …Do it for yourself, the future generations, and our planet. We are the only ones that can make that change,” said Aldan.
To cap the ceremony, the Tinian and Aguiguan Mayor’s Office, along with the Tinian leadership, other dignitaries, and community members held a roadside waving where they also distributed reusable bags to all who attended the ceremony and to any passersby during the waving. It was shared during the ceremony that the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation will soon introduce legislation that proposes to ban single-use plastics on Tinian.
On Nov. 16, 2022, on Rota, OPD Solid Waste Project coordinator for Rota Noreen Sablan led a presentation on the “3 Rs,” the benefits of recycling, and what items can be recycled for the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders of Sinapalo Elementary School.
Sablan said the students fully participated in her presentation, and were excited to share their own ideas on how to start incorporating the “3 Rs” into their everyday lives as students.
Some ideas from the students included using school supplies until they were no longer usable and purchasing new supplies only when needed, donating used clothing to family members, and using reusable water bottles and food containers instead of disposables.
“I was truly inspired by the students of Sinapalo Elementary School as they were very engaged in the discussion and gave feedback on ways that each one of them could contribute to waste reduction and recycling efforts. I look forward to more activities and future engagements with the schools and the community,” said Sablan.
The islandswide celebration of CNMI Recycles Week sets a significant precedent for the years to come as the CNMI progresses toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal No. 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
One objective under SDG #12 is to divert at least 50% of the CNMI’s recyclable waste away from landfills by 2030. The diverted recyclables will be composted, reused, or sold to support sustainable waste management systems. This work is supported by the ongoing partnership with the “Interisland Solid Waste Management Task Force,” composed of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as DPW, OPD, BECQ, MOTA, and the Office of the Mayor of Rota, and the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors UGCT, focusing on comprehensive solid waste management planning.
Read more about the SDGs and other long-term goals for the CNMI are discussed in the CNMI Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan linked here: https://opd.gov.mp/assets/2021- 2030_cnmi_csdp.pdf (PR)