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By Lindablue F. Romero

GARAPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (September 18, 1998 - Saipan Tribune)--- The Marianas Visitors Authority will ask owners of business establishments along the northern side of the Garapan area, Saipan's commercial district, to help in cleaning up the beaches within the vicinity.

Dave M. Sablan, Chairman of the Board, said he will form a team composed of representatives from the Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Health, and the MVA to meet with owners of the businesses to get them involved in maintaining the cleanliness of the area. He said the MVA may even acquire special equipment that will be used in the clean-up campaign.

Environment officials have noted that the sewage system in some areas of Garapan has been clogged due to dumping of waste in the canal, which eventually goes to the beaches.

The Hotel Association of Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) has raised the alarm on the perennial problem of polluted beaches where tourists frolic. In fact, HANMI has expressed concern over the possibility that hotels would have to post a notice by November to warn their guests against swimming in the polluted beaches to prevent possible lawsuits.

For many years, the Northern Marianas has been promoted abroad for its fine beaches, crystal clear waters, and rich marine life. HANMI warned that polluted beaches would be another blow to the half a billion dollar a year tourism industry.

DEQ periodically get samples of water at various beaches and conduct tests to find out which of these have high concentration of fecal coliform.

Unfortunately, the beaches in the northern area, where establishments such as Dai-Ichi, Hyatt, Hafa, and Micro hotels are located, are always found to be highly polluted.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune (Northern Mariana Islands).

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