The Palauan Community Association-CNMI, or PCA-CNMI, has joined the call of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers to implement a universal garbage collection system to address concerns on improper waste disposal in the Marianas.
The Naftan Committee of the PCA-CNMI witnessed first-hand the rampant illegal dumping on Saipan after conducting a cleanup drive at Naftan Point last Saturday. PCA-CNMI has chosen Naftan Point as its adopted site in support of GCEA’s Public Private Partnership initiative, and was disappointed that even this remote area was not spared from being an illegal dumping site.
“It saddens us to see that so much household and commercial trash are being dumped at our adopted site,” said Naftan Committee chair Elsie Ngewakl.
The group also found used oil, tires, and other auto shop trash at Naftan Point and needed a pick-up truck and trailer to load the garbage and dispose of them properly. Their personal experience at Naftan Point and the stories they’ve heard about the widespread illegal dumping in the CNMI prompted the organization to call for immediate action to these concerns.
“A systematic garbage disposal process is needed in the CNMI as soon as possible. It will benefit the people and our environment. I for one like the idea of installing trash bins at beaches and destination sites. …It will prevent plastic bags from flying into the water,” Ngewakl said.
Under its proposed UGC system, GCEA suggests regularly scheduled curbside pick-ups and installing trash receptacles in open spaces. There will be garbage collection zones across Rota, Tinian, and Saipan, similar to the current electoral precincts system on the islands, with each zone having communal garbage transfer stations. GCEA is also pushing for the practice of the 3Rs in waste disposal—reduce, reuse, and recycle—and strict and consistent enforcement of the existing anti-littering law in the CNMI.
GCEA, led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres as its chairman, thanked PCA-CNMI and the Naftan Committee, all PPP partners, and other members of the community for their efforts in helping clean the islands and spread awareness and education on how to curb illegal waste disposal.
“It is the proactive involvement by groups like the Palauan Community Association that helps keep our islands clean, and I thank them and all our partners for their hard work and dedication. Solving our illegal dumping issue will take efforts from all of us, and our ongoing public-private partnership will not only keep our islands clean but will also help us reach our goal of becoming a world-class destination,” said Torres.
PCA-CNMI, meanwhile, reminded the community of its responsibility to keep our surroundings clean. “It is illegal to dump any kind of trash in the jungle or the destination sites. It is detrimental to our environment and degrades the value of the sites. We ask everyone to be responsible community members and join our effort to keep the CNMI clean and beautiful,” Ngewakl said.
PCA-CNMI will continue to hold regular cleanup drives at Naftan Point, clear its surroundings of heavy vegetation, and install signs for easier and safer access for residents and visitors.