VOX POPULI: What do you think is Saipan’s biggest environmental problem and what can we do to solve it?

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We asked volunteers of this year’s International Coastal Cleanup what they think is the biggest environmental problem on the island and what should be done about it. Here’s what they have to say:

One of the biggest threats here on island is the garbage buildup, especially in our beaches. Not only does it harm living things around it, but it also harms the fishes and the oceans, our beaches. One way to help with it is to always pick up after yourselves. Also, if you see trash on the beaches, pick it up. It doesn’t hurt to have everyone just come together and pick up garbage because it’s harming our beaches.
—Naomi Billimon, Koblerville

Billimon

The biggest environmental threat on our island is pollution, mainly dealing with plastic where a lot of people use plastic when they go to stores and they use plastic bags. To solve it, we should reduce our amount of plastic use. Use reusable bags when you go shopping and use metal straws instead of plastic ones.
—Trinity Camacho, Beach Road

Camacho

I feel like the biggest environmental threat right now would be pollution. If garbage is everywhere, it could really affect us and when we are affected, it could affect our environment. Basically, it’s a cycle. When that cycle repeats, it gets worse. And I feel like the best solution to resolve this threat would be having less garbage around, getting together, picking it up.
—Miguel Fitipol, Capital Hill

Fitipol

The biggest problem is the people’s mentality, attitude. If they know already that throwing trash like this is going to ruin the environment, then they should stop doing it. We have to start doing the right [thing], and not throw trash…anywhere.
—Ronald Fernandez, LaoLao Bay

Fernandez

I believe the biggest problems we face coastal-wise would be the marine debris, especially after Super Typhoon Yutu, which swept most of the trash toward the coastal areas. To solve this, I think we should chip in, come together either through cleanups, even as individual or as a community, and come help chip in clean up in any way.
—Anne Navarette, San Vicente

Navarette

One of our main problems here, environmentally, besides our natural disaster debris, is locals and tourists forgetting and just littering unintentionally. To prevent this, we should do more of what we are doing today—this annual ICC. Maybe more locals and tourists should help pitch in. It’s fun and a good workout. It’s nice to bring your kids and your family members.
—Mardy F. Reyes, Dandan

Reyes

To me, Saipan is beautiful but I noticed that there is a lot of trash to be found. I think it stems from people not knowing about throwing trash properly, as well as there is not a real robust recycling program here on Saipan. I think that if Saipan produces a good recycling program for glass, plastics, metal, I think that would go a long way to keeping Saipan beautiful, and more tourists would come out here and enjoy and contribute to the economy.
—Eugene Chung, Capital Hill

Chung

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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