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By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 6)- Funding for the solid waste management division of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Works has been reduced from US$4 million to US$3.1 million this fiscal year.

Steve Hiney, the division head, said Department of Public Works has to implement budget cuts to comply with the austerity measures implemented by the cash-strapped government.

Department of Public Works, he said, continues to eliminate unnecessary expenses and consolidate activities.

Hiney said the government is now spending an estimated US$175 per ton of garbage.

This is considerably lower than previous cost, which ranged from US$240 to US$260 per ton of garbage, he said.

Recycling and proper management of waste, he added, have long-term benefits and can, in the long run, reduce the amount of money spent on solid waste management.

He said that if people continue to recycle waste, future expenses can be avoided.

According to Department of Public Works, 35 percent of delivered garbage is usually recycled.

"Recycling is not about making money. It’s about saving money that is yet to be spent in the future," Hiney said.

From January 1 to June 30, 1,272 tons of the 3,633 tons of delivered garbage were diverted for recycling.

This means that for every 140 tons of garbage delivered on a single day, 49 tons are recycled.

Hiney said due to this year’s aggressive promotion of recycling, 50 percent of delivered waste was recycled.

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