The CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality advises that new beach advisory signs have been recently installed around the island of Saipan to provide useful knowledge in relation to the health of CNMI waters and surroundings.
The beach signs display the advisory written in commonly used languages such as English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese for better engagement, along with the beach safety flags.
Here are the two types of beach safety flags you should know:
GREEN: A green flag is posted when water quality sample results from a recreational beach site do not exceed advisory levels and the site is safe to swim or fish.
RED: A red flag is posted when water quality sample from a recreational beach site exceeds the advisory levels. It may be unsafe to swim or fish in this area within 300 feet of the posted signs, so we advise the public not to swim or fish in the area for 48 hours at your own risk after posting the red flag.
(Note that when bacteria levels go above the standards, it can be unsafe to come into contact with those waters, so you can become sick. If you touch the water, especially if the water gets in your nose, mouth, ears, or cuts, it can cause rashes, skin infections, gastrointestinal illness and respiratory illness).
BECQ regularly samples beaches and coastal areas in the CNMI for bacteria concentration. The CNMI water quality standards are based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended criteria for bacteria.
The designated beach advisory signs are currently located at frequented beach access sites for fishing, swimming and recreational uses where BECQ samples weekly. Here are the following site installations from nrth to south you will see: Grotto, Tanapag Meeting Hall, DPW Channel Bridge (Lower Base), Micro Beach, Grandvrio Hotel, Garapan Fishing Base, Garapan Beach (13 Fishermen’s Memorial), Civic Center Beach, Sugar Dock, CK District No. 2 Drain-(Aquarius Beach), and Kanoa Resort.
This installation project is intended to advise public safety and bring community health awareness regarding water conditions at recreational beach sites. Specifically, BECQ wants to encourage people to understand the importance of the beach advisories and how it affects both human and marine life.
Beach flag advisories are posted on the signs, on social media (Facebook and Instagram), aired in the news, and on the DEQ website. Also, if you would like to be added to the Water Quality email list for advisories, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact BECQ’s Water Quality Surveillance/Nonpoint Source branch at 664-8531 for more information. (PR)