‘We need to get to the bottom of this!’

Says tour agencies should be held responsible for guests

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres wants those who make pristine beaches dirty by defecation and littering be held responsible.

“[We] need to find who does this, whether it’s residents or tourists,” said Torres. “Whoever does it [should] get the maximum fines in the books,” he said, adding that if regulations are not “strict enough…the Legislature needs to revisit and propose for a regulatory change.”

This came about after Saipan Tribune learned that two remote beaches were found in mid-August 2017 to be littered with what is assumed to be human waste.

Torres said that leaving fecal matter in beaches is “absolutely unacceptable.”

“This is what we have. We bring our kids to the beach to appreciate it and [for] activities like that [to continue] is absolutely unacceptable and embarrassing,” he said, adding that, in case of tourists, the tour companies must be responsible for their guests.

Saipan Tribune previously quoted Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality administrator Frank Rabauliman as saying that tourists are suspected of leaving behind the mess at Hidden Beach and Jeffrey’s Beach.

“Those actions should never be accepted in any part of the world, especially here on the islands,” said Torres.

According to Marianas Visitors Authority statistics, the CNMI has seen a drastic increase in tourist visitor arrivals since fiscal year 2016. From October 2016 to July 2017, the CNMI has witnessed a total of 541,152 arrivals, already 39,663 more visitors than the total number of visitors in fiscal year 2016. Fiscal year 2017 ends on Oct. 1, 2017.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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