DELAYED TRASH PICKUP BLAMED ON GUAM CASH WOES

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By Lacee A.C. Martinez

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 7) – The scene was similar along many village roads on Guam yesterday: Overloaded trashcans, with garbage piled on top, on the side or strewn across yards and streets.

Many villages went more than a week without trash pickup, but regular pickup for Department of Public Works solid waste tipping fee customers should have resumed yesterday, Department of Public Works Solid Waste project manager Cynthia Jackson said.

She placed blame on a cash shortfall associated with the start of the new fiscal year.

The cash shortage came at the same time Department of Public Works trucks went down,, Jackson said exacerbating the delays in trash pickup.

"Prior to Thursday last week, we had very, very minimal money for repairs," she said. "We just received a portion of our allotments and now we're turning out our requisitions for our contractors. It's one of those things we go through every year because it's the start of the fiscal year. "

Jackson said, throughout the ordeal, the department has been in contact with the governor's office, which eventually released US$100,000 in allotments.

However, yesterday's blaring heat and brief downpour worsened the situation at Joseph Naputi's home on Taigigao Road in Agana Heights, where family and neighbors gathered outside for a late lunch.

Throughout the day and evening, residents, mostly children, cut through this narrow road to get to the neighboring elementary school and village gymnasium.

Naputi's metal garbage bin could barely contain the two overflowing containers in front of his home.

His visiting brother, Albert Naputi, of Ipan waved his hands over a table and covered his can of root beer in an attempt to keep swarming flies away.

"People pass by here every day and it creates a nuisance to the community," Albert Naputi said. "There are dogs, cats and chickens tearing up the trash bags because it gets overloaded."

While tipping fee customers who are up to date with their bills can take their trash to the islands transfer stations and the Ordot dump beginning today and at no cost, he commented on how difficult it would be.

"They say we can take it to the dump but we don't all have a truck to take it to the dump," Albert Naputi said. "Look how close we have to sit next to this and there's not much we can do about it. Why do we have to continue to watch and stare and sniff our trash when the taxpayers are paying for their trash to be picked up?"

Mike Garrido said he's been also frustrated with the delayed pickup, and yesterday had seven full trashcans crowding the front of his Sinajana home.

Looking at his uncle's overflowing trash bin, Garrido said: "The problem also is that if it's not in a trashcan they're not going to take it. They should ... (credit) us if they're not going to pick it up."

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