DPW struggles with typhoon debris clearing

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Posted on Dec 27 2018

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The Department of Public Works is struggling to complete the debris-clearing process, two months after Super Typhoon Yutu laid waste to parts of Saipan and Tinian.

According to Enrique Dela Cruz, Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management director, DPW has been working with the Saipan Mayor’s Office to clear the island of typhoon debris but it has been a struggle.

Dela Cruz added that Super Typhoon Yutu is the worst storm, in terms of debris, he has ever seen in all his years in the CNMI.

“We’re trying our best. Right now, both the mayor’s office and DPW have trucks and are going out there picking up all the typhoon debris along the roads. …There’s a lot of trash actually, I don’t know how much, but it’s too much. …It’s a struggle right now,” he said.

Dela Cruz laments a lack of proper equipment. “The struggle right now is mostly the equipment, like grabbers and more dump trucks,” he said.

With the right kind of equipment, like the grabbers, Dela Cruz said, the department could efficiently pick up more typhoon debris faster because the machines are designed to do so. The machines would also eliminate the need for manual debris pickup and loading.

Dela Cruz said there are still loads of trash littering the southern side of the island, two months following Super Typhoon Yutu.

“It’s been over a month and it’s getting bad…when you drive, you can see all this debris along the main road way. There’s lumber, roofing tin, furniture, appliances, some of municipal waste,” he said.

The department has also been struggling with the process of throwing typhoon debris into the Marpi Landfill because there is so much trash to sort through.

“We’re still sorting the trash so if you go to the dump, it’s a mountain of tin, lumber, debris,” he said.

To speed up the sorting process, Dela Cruz said, the department has set up a staging area in As Gonno, Koblerville.

“…We set up a place in As Gonno as a staging site for mixed debris and from there we’re going to start separating before bringing it up to the landfill,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.

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