SAIPAN GROUP TACKLES RUBBISH DUMPING PROBLEM

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By Rene P. Acosta

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 8, 2000 - Marianas Variety/PINA Nius Online)---The Division of Solid Waste Management is now working closely with other government agencies to resolve the illegal dumping of rubbish.

Solid Waste Management Director John Harder said division personnel have been meeting with the Division of Environmental Quality to establish an effective enforcement action.

A similar meeting also was held with the Department of Public Health on the sanitation aspects of the problem.

Harder said some of his staff will be teaming up with Division of Environmental Quality and Department of Public Health personnel to organize a collaborative group that will work directly on the problem.

But the Director admitted that mere enforcement of regulations will not completely solve the illegal dumping situation. He pointed out the need to conduct a public education campaign on the effects of the illegally disposed garbage.

The Division is already coordinating activities with the Public Information Office, under the Office of the Governor, to initiate an educational awareness campaign.

According to Harder, the people involved in this illegal activity are those who do not have a concern for the environment.

He said island residents should help preserve the environment.

Harder said garbage not only affects the outdoor environment but also the health of residents.

The Division’s discovery of an illegal dump came just days after the implementation of a tipping fee at the Puerto Rico dump facility, but Harder dismissed the charging of fees as the reason for the illegal site. He said a close inspection showed that it is already had been in use for several years.

He said it probably was being used by people too lazy to bring their trash to Puerto Rico.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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