Task force will address problems with trash, littering, illegal dumping
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has created a CNMI Universal Garbage Collection Task Force to address problems with trash, littering, and illegal dumping in the Commonwealth.
Speaking a radio press briefing last Friday, Torres disclosed that he recently signed an executive order that creates the task force that will look into the trash problem on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and come up with a universal plan that will address the garbage collection issue.
The governor hopes to have the task force formed this week, with a chairperson to be known by tomorrow, Friday.
“Our goal is to have a universal trash collection formula for the entire CNMI. We are excited for that,” Torres said.
Ultimately, he said, they want to make use of the landfill the right way, have as much product as possible recycled, and possibly harness the transformation of waste to energy in the long term.
The governor said the creation of the task force is one of the recommendations of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Torres stated in the order that the establishment of a universal garbage collection system for the CNMI will establish greater efficiencies and ameliorate the harmful practice of littering and illegal dumping.
Under the executive order, the CNMI Universal Garbage Collection Task Force shall convene and work toward the creation of a collection system that will provide for greater efficiencies in the collection of solid waste among the villages and businesses in the Commonwealth.
The system will provide for community receptacles, and establish greater efficiencies among private operators in the solid waste collection services.
The task force shall be composed of professional individuals and government officials from both the public and private sectors.
Torres said all departments, divisions, offices, government corporations, board, and commissions of the government appointed to the task force shall assign a representative from their respective offices to participate in meetings and activities carried out by the task force necessary to achieve its missions.
The task force will consist of the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Office of Planning and Development. Additional government agencies may be added from time to time and as deemed necessary by the task force chairman.
Invited and requested to be members of the task force are the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Association of the NMI, and Office of the Attorney General.
Torres said the task force is responsible for reviewing existing plans, studies, and recommendations for the establishment of a Universal Garbage Collection system for the CNMI.
He said the task force is also responsible for reviewing best practices in the region and the U.S. mainland and will be providing written plans and recommendations to the Governor’s Office, which shall include any changes necessary to CNMI laws, regulations, or policies.
Torres coted a Solid Waste Management Feasibility Study that DPW published in 2019, which found that the present structure of solid waste management in the CNMI lacks centralized control and planning for the development of an integrated solid waste management system. This study provided a set of recommendations and best practices for enhancing the effectiveness of the CNMI’s solid waste management system.
Torres said this study, along with recommendations from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Office of Planning and Development, have highlighted the need for a long-term coordinated effort to support growth of the solid waste management system and to ameliorate the negative repercussions of littering and environmental degradation.
He said while the Office of Planning and Development, with the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has established the Inter-Island Solid Waste Management Task Force, more immediate actions can be taken to increase coordination, integration, and inter-agency collaboration.
Torres said poor accessibility to solid waste disposal services and the overall inefficiency of the solid waste management system plays a significant role in the proliferation of illegal dumping and littering, resulting in the degradation of the CNMI’s environment and a poor image for the Commonwealth’s tourist-based economy.