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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (April 28, 2001 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---Month-long Earth Day 2001 celebrations began in Palau with a mock congress in which students expressed concerns and submitted proposed measures to the national legislature on how to better take care of the environment.

Pearl Marumoto, chairwoman of the organizing committee, said the congress was led by 20 high school and college students.

Students acted as lawmakers and came up with proposed legislation concerning the environment.

During the weeklong congress, the students drafted bills, which were then submitted to the Olbiil Era Kelelau (OEK), Palau's national legislature.

"The students sit in and act like lawmakers," Marumoto said.

Marumoto said the congress gave students a voice in formulating legislation and honed their decision-making and leadership skills.

She said at least three bills would be submitted by the students, as well as three proposed amendments to current laws.

Marumoto said since the young people are the future leaders of the country, they should be educated on environmental issues, which they will surely face in the future.

The mock congress is only one of many Earth Day 2001 activities lined-up by the organizing committee.

The project also will focus on energy conservation.

Marumoto said with the help of tour operators, buses are giving free rides to Koror motorists.

She said public transportation is one way of conserving energy and fuel.

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. led the Earth Day tree planting activities.

A Green Fair showcased different plants.

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