The Saipan Mayor’s Office uncovered a mass dumpsite on the outskirts of the Mount Carmel cemetery.
The Mount Carmel cemetery is arguably the largest burial area in the CNMI and is the resting place of many former CNMI dignitaries. Unfortunately, it has now become a dumpsite as well.
According to Saipan Mayor’s Office operations manager Joann Aquino, she and her crew have visited the Mount Carmel cemetery six times in the last fiscal year and it has become a separate entity in terms of cleanup.
Yesterday, upon visiting the cemetery, Aquino and her crew were able to uncover heaps of trash both surrounding the cemetery and within the cemetery grounds.
Aquino noted that during previous visits, they had only needed to gather burial debris like old wreaths and candle remnants but upon their visit yesterday, the group uncovered household trash too that were dumped there in piles.
Stray dogs and stray animals also rummaged through the dumpsite adding onto the workload.
According to Saipan Mayor David Apatang, it was saddening to see the amount of disrespect that was shown for the final resting place of the island’s deceased.
“There was a lot of trash. There are people using it [the cemetery] to dump their trash there and it’s very sad to see that happening because that place is a sacred place for our people who have gone before us. People should respect that,” he said.
“All I am asking from the community is that when cleaning the grave of their loved ones, to take their trash with them. Don’t just dispose of it right there because it looks bad and that place should always be cleaned because that’s where our people are resting,” he added.
Apatang said that he had to send two cleanup crews just to rid the cemetery of the amount of garbage sprawled across the Mount Carmel cemetery.
“We also had to bring in a backhoe and multiple trash bins and that shouldn’t be necessary…all I am asking of our people is to cooperate because this isn’t for us, this is for our people who passed before us,” he said.
The Saipan Mayor’s Office also maintains the cleanliness of the Tanapag cemetery and the Veterans cemetery.