Rep. Edwin Propst (Ind-Saipan) wants to give attention to the growing trash problem in the CNMI.
“Everybody is affected by this, the reason I want to talk about this is that it is an ongoing issue that has been going on for decades, always looking for a solution to this problem” Propst said while serving as one of the guest speaker in yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Propst said that the waste problem is only getting worse instead of getting better and as a representative of the community he receives regular calls regarding illegal dumpsites.
“If tourism is our No. 1 industry, if we want to have a beautiful island, and a jewel of the Pacific that we can be proud of, we need to get to the bottom of this and do something about it.”
Propst shared while helping clear one of the illegal dumpsites in a village one day, some students voluntarily helped pick up trash and he said that it was encouraging. “Right in broad daylight, people were bringing their trash; everyone just decided that it was a dumping ground,” according to Propst.
“The reason I’m showing you this is not to paint an ugly picture or saying that we’re slobs, there’s just a problem with other people who don’t have any issues with throwing their trash everywhere,” said Propst
“We need to have a fair share in this; because some of our local organizations are underfunded they have so much to do other than drive around the island.” There have been some suggestions according to Propst, to have trash bins on the beaches, public areas, parks, and everywhere else.”
“We want to get the government agencies involved, and of course private companies, the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, everybody involved to create an island-wide litter task force to address the problem once and for all.”
Propst also aims to have a universal trash collection as a longterm solution to this problem. “It can be done. A large part of the population has no money to pay for trash collection,” said Propst.
An anti-littering bill is in the works at the House of Representatives after the Senate made some amendments