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Vox Populi: What can we do in the CNMI to protect our environment?

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Posted on Apr 29 2021

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TanHoldings Legal Department’s Ariel Mariano picking up trash
by the beach in Garapan last
Saturday, during the island-wide cleanup event held to celebrate Earth Day 2021 in the CNMI. (Iva Maurin)

Saipan Tribune participated in the back-to-back Earth Day celebrations last week: the road-side wave at Oleai and the island-wide cleanup in beaches, and we asked around to see what people think about environmental issues, and what should be done about them.

We depend on a healthy environment to fulfill our basic resource needs. The most obvious of those needs being food, water, shelter, and clean air. The basic need we often overlook is the enrichment of a healthy environment which provide us with insight, inspiration, and interconnectedness.

Rachel Carson, the leader of the modern environmental movement, put it this way: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.” Retaining the beauty she speaks of will require perseverance but will ensure a future we all want as long as we conserve our environment.

Carson also said “Conservation is a cause that has no end. There is no point at which we will say our work is finished.” Help to ensure a better future for you, your family, the CNMI, and the world by supporting and getting involved in local conservation efforts.
—JD Herndon, biologist

TanHoldings Corporate Affairs vice president Catherine Attao, along with other volunteers, cleaning up the beach behind the TSL Plaza in Garapan last Saturday, during the island-wide cleanup event held to celebrate Earth Day 2021 in the CNMI. (Iva Maurin)

TanHoldings, every year, looks forward to participating on the island wide-beach cleanup, in partnership with BECQ. Every year, the employees come out with family members and do their part in cleaning the beach. We just really want to do our part in helping keep the environment clean, especially our coastline. Our beaches is what makes Saipan very unique, so we want to do our part, especially in protecting our marine life.

Please, everybody do our part in keeping the beach clean. Whatever we bring to the beach, please be responsible and take it away. Let’s just enjoy [the beach], this is something that generations down in front of us will enjoy and we just need to do our part in maintaining it and preserving it.
—Catherine Attao, Tan Holdings Corporate Affairs/Corporate HR vice president

Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Joe Guerrero with Commonwealth Utilities Corp. administration chief Betty Terlaje calling on everyone to save the environment during the Earth Day road side waving held Thursday last week, organized by Miss Northern Marianas Earth Ria Lael Terlaje, to increase environmental awareness in the CNMI. (Iva Maurin)

Business and the environment are very much dependent on each other. Businesses should always strive to make a conscious effort to conserve, reduce the use and look out for the environment, because without a good environment, business actually will suffer. I challenge each and every business to find ways, small steps that make a big difference in the end for everybody, by reducing consumption wherever you can, and, and promoting the cause.
— Joseph C. Guerrero, Saipan Chamber of Commerce president

Every bit counts. Every little straw, bottle cap, plastic bit and bob ends up in our ocean. No piece is too small to dispose of properly. It’s our responsibility. Oceans hold 97% of earths water, don’t throw anything in there that you would not want to find in a water bottle you were drinking from.
—Madge Gai, diver

Today, we gathered here to celebrate a global event where billions of people around the world, every April 22 since the 1970s have been gathering, to take action, to help the environment. Today, what I did in the CNMI was gather community members who wanted to do a roadside waving to inspire those who pass by. Even if it was just one person or two, we can get them inspired and fill them with passion and knowledge so they could inspire other people, so on and so forth.

Miss Earth Northern Marianas Ria Lael Terlaje, with her brother, leading a crowd of nature-loving volunteers on a road-side wave to spread awareness on the need to protect and care for the environment, held last Thursday, in celebration of Earth Day 2021. (Iva Maurin)

There are so many environmental problems in this CNMI, from rising sea levels to our eroding shores to so much trash but I think right now the issue in the CNMI is illegal dumping only because it is optional. I’ve been through so many jungles and there are so many businesses who would just dump bags of trash everywhere. I think that’s something that we need to educate our businesses. They’re also bases of educating other people, their customers so, again a chain reaction of education.
—Ria Lael Terlaje, Miss Earth Northern Marianas

Senate floor leader Sen. Vinnie Sablan (Ind-Saipan) and his son advocating the “keep the sea plastic-free” at the Earth Day road side waving held Thursday last week, organized by Miss Northern Marianas Earth, to increase environmental awareness in the CNMI. (Iva Maurin)

Our illegal dumping problem is one of the big issues. Our land sizes is not too big so we got to figure out ways and movements to curb that problem. We have our ocean litter as well. We have washed up litter that comes from the ocean so that’s one of the things we have to really keep in mind as well.

Earth Day is not only today, it should be every day. We’re here to support Miss Earth, and everybody else who helps the Earth and cares about the Earth. It’s very important that we become environmentalists in our own right, because the Earth is all we have. Our land is all we have, our water and our air, so it’s very crucial for everybody to really understand that.
—Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan, Senate floor leader

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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