Would you like a reward for reporting those who illegally dump and throw trash?
Rep. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan), at the House of Representatives’ session last Thursday, introduced House Bill 20-117, proposing to create an anti-littering incentive program by providing a reward for those reporting violations of Public Law 19-53, or the Commonwealth Litter Control Act.
Littering or illegal dumping is to dispose of any litter, anywhere other than appropriate storage containers or areas designated for the trash; as well as depositing trash from homes or businesses into any public trash receptacle, except those designated for household or commercial waste disposal.
In an interview with Saipan Tribune, Camacho said that the bill is to get people to start reporting littering violations through incentives, as well as to promote a collaboration between the community and agencies enforcing the Litter Control Act, in consideration of them being short-staffed, especially with the recent government furloughs.
“The trash issue and illegal dumping have been so rampant. I witnessed it just yesterday too at Pau Pau [Beach]. I had to go and approach the people at the pavilions to [ask them to] please take [their] trash with [them]. We all need to be responsible for ourselves, protect our environment,” he said. “Please respect our environment and take your trash. The least we can do is take our trash with us when we leave the parks or beach [and] recreation areas.”
Camacho added that the incentive is at $150, and will be taken from the Litter Control Fund, as collected by the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.
“It’s pretty minimal but it’s something. It’s still something. It gives people a chance to not only take pride in encouraging others to not leave their trash behind but, at the same time, you get something out of it. The goal is to stop the littering, that’s the ultimate goal, and hopefully this is one method,” he added.
The lawmaker also explained that the report has to go through the agencies first, for verification and enforcement, with the court to issue the fine, before the reward could be received.
“There are very hardworking government agencies out there, very hardworking volunteers. …We want to keep our islands clean and beautiful so when we actually finally reopen our economy, our visitors, our community [will] have a safe and wonderful experience when they get here,” he said.
The bill has been sent to the House Natural Resource Committee for review.