Saipan Tribune, Monday, June 12, 2006
Zero tolerance month eyed vs littering, illegal dumping
Story by Ferdie de la Torre
The Beautify CNMI is planning to have one month declared as zero-tolerance month, to go after people engaged in littering and illegal dumping in the CNMI.
Steve Hiney, chairman of the Beautify CNMI's anti-littering/illegal dumping subcommittee, disclosed that one of the things that their group is working on is to enforce zero tolerance against littering or illegal dumping for a month or a couple of weeks, similar to the zero tolerance campaign against those not wearing seat belts.
Under the program they will bridge the enforcement and outreach activities, said Hiney during Friday's official launching of the Beautify CNMI at the Division of Environmental Quality's conference room.
He explained that to realize the project, they need to have coordination among concerned agencies by gathering together DEQ, the Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works, Department of Public Lands, and the Marianas Visitors Authority. These agencies have their respective anti-littering enforcement officers and it is the group's plan to bring all these enforcement personnel together in a coordinated drive against littering.
Hiney said they want to make sure that the people issuing citations to violators are trained or certified to do so.
The chairman also mentioned that one of the first things that the group discussed in their meeting was the need to educate people on the difference between littering and illegal dumping.
"Litter is typically when you're driving down the street or walking on the side of the road and you drop a can or small bag of trash. That is littering," he said.
"One of the things that we want to look as a working group is to have a stage or phase level of fines that.the more you dump, the more you pay," he said.
Hiney said in their outreach campaign, there is a need to coordinate agency outreach materials such as flyers, posters, videos and other things.
During the launching of the group, the subcommittees announced various ongoing and upcoming community projects. Aside from Hiney, present were Tony Benavente of the subcommittee on junk goods, Tina Sablan of the recycling subcommittee, Angelo Villagomez of the restoration subcommittee, Lysander Tudela of the Northern Marianas College, and Reina Camacho of the outreach/publicity subcommittee.
Beautify CNMI is a coalition of different government agencies and private sector.