Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Before the sun goes DOWN, pick it UP, and THROW it in a MINA Adopt-a-Bin

In keeping with their MINA Adopt-a-Bin sponsorship responsibilities, last Saturday CTSI and Tan Holding employees held a clean-up of Susupe Beach Park. 19 Employees raked up mounds of litter-strewn ironwood needles that contained old bones,cigarette butts and packages, pull tabs, bottle caps, and juice box straws and wrappers. These items may seem too insignificant to be considered litter by the people who carelessly drop them on the ground, but this type of debris is difficult to remove from sand, leaves, and the general marine environment. So instead of volunteers collecting what would only fill a few bags, 80 bags of debris are raked up on average each month from Susupe Beach Park, as reported by a regular clean-up volunteer Argie Buensalido, a CTSI employee.

Even small bits of marine debris can last for years in the environment before degrading. NOAA’s Marine Debris website reports that cigarette butts can last up to five (5) years, aluminum cans 200, plastic bottles 450, and monofilament fishing line up to 600 years. Batteries of various types are made of heavy metals and corrosive electrolytes that last for thousands of years continually leaching these poisons into our ground water and marine environment.

What is left on the ground today is washed out to sea joining the myriad of pollutants and debris making up the Pacific Garbage Patch. Wikipedia reports that the Patch “is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.” The Gyre is located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N.

As a responsible organization, Tan Holdings created a recycling program last year for all their affiliates. The program has greatly diminished their contribution to the CNMI’s landfill. Joven Cruz, CTSI Station Manager, said Reality Management Services (RMS) collects paper, metals, and plastics from all their business locations including some apartment complexes, “RMS then sends the recyclables to Ericco Enterprises and DPW’s lower base transfer station for shipment off island. As a CTSI employee I’m proud to say that by recycling we are helping to extend the life of our landfill.”

CTSI and Tan Holding’s volunteer efforts did not go unappreciated. At least two families gathered at the park on Saturday for their own festivities. Ami King-Pableo, who was celebrating her birthday, said that she purposefully called family members to remind them to bring garbage bags for cleaning up afterwards.

MINA asks everyone to act as responsibly. Before the sun goes DOWN on your fiesta, remember to pick it UP, and THROW it in an Adopt-a-bin. It’s that easy. If you are interested in learning more or would like to add your name to MINA’s Adopt-a-Bin map please contact 233-Reef, or

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Calling All Volunteers!

We are planning to follow the parade again this year (like we did last year) to pick up trash.

We need you!
Can you help?

Please send an email to or to Joe Kaipat at if you or your organization would be willing to help.

Trash bags and gloves will be provided. You should wear a Beautify CNMI! t-shirt if you have one or a t-shirt representing your organization.

We will likely start near Quarter Master Road on Beach Road. Last year we met up just in front of MegaByte. We met up around noon and finished up around 4pm. DEQ and CRM will be helping organize and put out more details by tomorrow, so check back for more postings and details!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Northern Marianas Badminton Association Joins Beautify CNMI!

Volunteers/Members of The Northern Marianas Badminton Association at the Oleai Sports Complex. Community Service Committee chair and Board member Puy Macario was among the 22 volunteers/members who participated in the June 19 inaugural clean up of the Oleai Sports Complex, the group's adopted site. The volunteers/members pictured are: Christy Villaflor, Merlie Tolentino, Shirley Kim, Ezekiel Macario, Annarose Omori, Manatsu Omori, Kanata Omori, Vic Regis, Hapi Gabriel, Gigi Zapanta, Emily Vargas, Toshiko Obata, Rob Harrel, Loyda Ito, Angie Ito, Lucelle Lampera, Mika Lampera, Ella Lampera,Heo Insook, So Young, & Dick Guinto.

A hearty WELCOME to The Northern Marianas Badminton Association, the newest member of the Beautify CNMI! family.

The Northern Marianas Badminton Association, through its Community Service Committee headed by Puy Macario, held a clean-up project on June 19, 2010, at the Oleai Sports Complex. The clean up was held in time for the preparation of the Marianas Cup which was held the same day in the afternoon.

The clean up was NMBA's first community project this year and the group has adopted the Oleai Sports Complex as their regular clean-up project.

Thank you and welcome, again, to the Beautify CNMI! coalition of volunteers!
Members strike a pose during the clean up.
The family that cleans together stays together. NMBA Mom Lucelle Lampera is joined by her twin daughters Mika and Ella.
NMBA Board members Gigi Zapanta and Hapi Gabriel
NMBA Board member and Community Service Committee Chair Puy Macario
NMBA Beauties with Vice President Rob Harel
NMBA Board Members Shirley Kim and Merlie Tolentino are all smiles
NMBA Junior Member Ezekiel Macario
NMBA Junior member Manatsu Omori
NMBA junior player rakes the dry weed
NMBA members busy cleaning outside the Ada Gym


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mariana Trench in Outside Magazine

According to Outside Magazine, I am an "up-and-comer with a strong marketing instinct." Those eight words will be in every job application and every cover letter I write for the next 20 years. Thank you, Outside Magazine!

On Saturday I received my July 2010 issue of Outside Magazine. This is an issue I have been waiting for for almost a year. This is the issue that contains the story on last year's expedition to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

Patrick Symmes, Outside Magazine contributing editor and the writer of this article, did a fantastic job. I thought the story was going to focus mostly on the trip we took to the monument, but he took it to the next level and interviewed Sylvia Earle and officials from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. What could have simply been a story about going to a far off place turned into a great retelling of some of the best conservation that has taken place during the last decade.

The story starts before the creation of the monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and carries us through the creation of Papahanaumokuakea and the creation of Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

I have to say, it literally hurts when the story of the monument campaign, something that took so much effort and caused so much stress, is cut down to a few paragraphs, or as in the case of MSNBC, a single sentence. One day I'll be able to let go of that; perhaps after my book is published.

The Outside Magazine website says that the magazine will be available on newsstands June 29, but I was able to find it online. I'd love to hear your reactions to the story, so please feel free to leave comments.

Friday, June 18, 2010

MINA Congratulations Kagman High and Docomo - Another Bin Adopted

In celebration of the ongoing cleanup efforts at Marine Beach by Kagman High School Marine Biology Club, the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) and Docomo Pacific surprised the group on Saturday with a new set of trash and recycling bins for the beach.

“These kids have been cleaning up Marine beach every month for a year now. That to me is a commitment worth talking about,” said Joe Kaipat, Division of Environmental Quality Cleanup Brigade coordinator. Kaipat told MINA about the Club’s adoption of Marine Beach shortly after the Adopt-a-Bin program was launched.

Kaipat said the 30-member Club had been interested in taking part in MINA’s Adopt-a-Bin program to limit the amount of picnic waste left on the ground. Picnic waste eventually washes to the shoreline to become marine debris. The Club picks up 300 pounds of trash on average each month from Marine Beach, Kaipat reported. According to the Club, the worst thing found during a cleanup was a car battery, a highly toxic form of marine debris.

Although the Club met MINA’s requirement of conducting at least two clean ups a year to Adopt-a-Bin, it lacked funding to pay $1,000 for trash hauling services. In response, local businesses were solicited to partner with the Club. A similar partnership was successfully galvanized between the Susupe Hi-5 Basketball Team and US Representative Gregorio C. Kilili Sablan for a set of bins at Kilili Beach.

Last week, James Nelson, Docomo Pacific general manager, responded to MINA’s call. Nelson said he was impressed by the Club’s volunteerism and commitment to the environment and that his company would be happy to partner with the Club to Adopt-a-Bin.

After seeing the new bins in place on Saturday, Nelson surprised MINA in turn, by saying that Docomo Pacific would adopt a second bin for Saipan’s western shore. MINA is now seeking a partner for that bin. If you are interested in putting your name on the map of MINA’s Adopt-a-Bin program, contact 233-Reef, or

Shirley's June Clean Up

Three cheers for the stewards of Sugar Dock beach area. On Wednesday, June 16th, 21 volunteers participated (Shirley's staff and relatives) in their regular monthly clean up. Volunteers collected 80 lbs. of trash consisting mostly of cans, bottles, plastics and discarded food.

Great job and thank you to the staff and relatives of Shirley's Coffee Shop!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Draft Meeting Minutes for June 10, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010 – 6:00PM
CIC Conference Room - JP Bldg, Beach Road, Garapan


Note: All monthly meetings will take place at Century Insurance Conference Room, 1st floor JP Center, Beach Road at 5:30pm until further notice --- mark your calendars!

I. Introductions – around the table (3-mins)
1) Aric, Eli, Joe, Laurie (Marites via phone call)
II. Adopt agenda and last meeting’s minutes (2-mins)
1) Move (Joe) and second (Eli) to adopt agenda
2) Move (Joe) and second (Eli) to adopt May 13 mtg mins
III. Committee reports (20-mins or 2-3 mins each)
1) Solid waste:
i. May Cleanup Brigade moved to clean up Koberville runway
1. On survey decided that getting volunteers will be too hard
2. Hopwood 340 lbs at PakPak beach
3. Kagman 120 lbs at Marine beach
4. PDM 1780 lbs at Paseo/Garapan district
ii. June
1. 340 lbs at Bird Island DEQ Cleanup Brigade
2. NOAA and CRM and DEQ and a church group from Guam pulled up 220 lbs from Old Man by the Sea
3. Marine Biology Club in Kagman – this coming Saturday
4. PDM – this coming Saturday
iii. Marine debris – recycle bin for Marine Beach w/DoCoMo as sponsor in partnership with Kagman Biology Club
iv. Litter Control officers
1. Feel like the fine is too high, so they don’t want to issue
2. Current penalties are $200-500
3. Director DEQ is looking at reducing the fine to less than $200
4. Litter control officers are scattered in amongst all the various agencies: DEQ, CRM, etc.
2) Tan Holdings – iServe iGive Back
i. 5 clean ups in May: CTSI & Fiesta postponed its scheduled monthly clean-up to give way to 2010 SCC Corporate Challenge, which was held 30-May
1. CTSI & FHB: Pavilion #1 – Kilili, 22-May, 7:30a-1pm, 25 volunteers, cleaning and painting and general repairs, 85 bags of trash, 772.65 kilos
2. Fiesta & G4S: Pavilion #4 – PauPau Beach, 26-May, 20 volunteers, cleaning and painting and general repairs, 8 bags of trash, 36.36
3. POI Aviation: Flametree Road, 27-May, 4-5pm, 44 volunteers, 23 bags of trash, 115.91 kilos
4. JP Center: Front of JP center to 13-Fishermen’s Memorial, 29-May, 6:30-8am, 37 volunteers, 46 bags of trash, 427.27 kilos
ii. Three (3) clean ups planned for June
1. 24-June: monthly hauling of recyclables from all Tan Holdings offices
2. 25-June: POI, 4pm, Herman Pan Road
3. 26-June:
a. JP Center, 6:30am, Beach Road
b. CTSI, 8am, Susupe Beach Park
c. Fiesta, 8am, Makaka Beach
iii. Eli will check to see if transfer station or dump is charging tipping fee; shouldn’t be paying; need to make sure that Eli gives Joe a vehicle ID so that fees will not be charged
3) PDM Promoters
i. Regularly scheduled clean up schedule for this coming Saturday
ii. Concerned about waste left by Chinese building owners
iii. Joe is going to look at how to inspect the building owners to enforce accountability
iv. Eli will ask Chinese Association to circulate information to the Chinese community to assist with waste disposal in Paseo de Marianas (Rose or Jerry)
4) First Friday Film – Aric Bickel/DEQ project
i. Film will introduce a theme for the month
ii. The idea is to focus all public outreach and activities on each month’s theme
iii. No schedule yet – but hoping to have it complete by next week
iv. Hopefully coalition partners will be able to collaborate on the subjects as they are planning their own events
v. Aric will email movies poster for blog post and download with encouragement to post at public places – LP to post on BCNMI website
5) Graffiti (via telephone report)
i. Marites has recruited volunteers
ii. Marites and Cinta will be working on a plan to initiate projects in the community
IV. Housekeeping (15 mins)
1) Does anyone have or keep a list of adopted locations?
i. Not renewed since 2008
ii. Some are still continuing responsibility even though there is no formal agreement
iii. Joe’s gonna share that via email
2) Recommend that Tan Holdings enter their events on the BCNMI calendar first then copy to their own so that it will show up on the public calendar
3) Joe is down to last 200 trash bags, no gloves
i. DEQ is not going to supply other govt agencies with supplies
ii. DEQ will assist schools and private groups on a limited basis
iii. Joe is recommending BCNMI buy more supplies
1. Laurie recommending 3 quotes
2. Aric and Joe noted that there is a company in CK that making recycled plastic products and we should support them
3. Bags are slightly more expensive – but the value is bigger in the bigger picture
4) 4th of July end of parade cleanup
i. Joe recommended that Neighborhood Watch group would conduct the clean up; they have decided not to
ii. Unless there is a group willing to take the lead, we may need to table conducting this project again until next year
iii. 2009 event was spontaneous and resulted in an immediately clean Beach Road, post parade, with only a handful of volunteers
V. Announcements (2-mins)
1) Laurie will have to resign from PR Coordinator effective June 30th
VI. Next monthly meeting - 2nd Thursday of the Month (2-mins)
1) July 8th
2) Time: 5:30p
3) CIC Conference Room, @ JP Bldg Beach Road

Shirley's Coffee Shop maintains its adopted site

Shirly's conducts regular clean ups at Sugar Dock/ Aquarius Beach Tower side. Below are some photos of their volunteers hard at work on March 15, 2010.

Getting the volunteers organized

Volunteers hard at work!

Over 1,200 lbs of trash collected - OMG! Where does it come from?

Great job TEAM!

...and after...

19 Shirley's employees with some relatives participated in the clean up. Collected approximately 120lbs. of trash that day. Their next clean up will take place on Wednesday, June 16, 2010.

KUDOS TO SHIRLEY'S COFFEE SHOP AND ITS VOLUNTEERS FOR BEING THE STEWARDS for one of Saipan's most loved beaches! Please keep up the great work...your efforts are an inspiration and much appreciated by all in our community!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


SAIPAN – Every first Friday of the month, starting in July, a free environmental film will be shown to the community at American Memorial Park Theater.

“First Friday Films” was inspired by the exceptional turnout and response to the films played during Environmental Awareness Month in April. Hundreds of people came out to see the Lorax, HOME and The End of the Line. The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the films illustrated the power of cinema to educate and inspire a wide variety of people.

Each month a film will represent a month-long theme of activities aimed at inspiring the community to become actively involved and make environmentally friendly choices.

Sponsored by the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA), the first film to be featured on Friday, July 2nd at 7 p.m. is Black Wave, a documentary about the 20-year legacy of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the early hours of March 24th 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker ran aground in Alaska and discharged millions of gallons of crude oil into sensitive Artic waters. The incident became the biggest environmental catastrophe in North American history.

Given the recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the allowance of further drilling by the Obama administration, “Black Wave” is a timely and relevant feature that will educate the community about the risks associated with offshore oil exploration. Following the film, local oil spill responders will discuss the Gulf of Mexico spill and the response plans in place for the CNMI.

“First Fridays” is coordinated through a partnership between the Division of Environmental Quality and American Memorial Park, with the generous support of organizations such as MINA.

Click here to download the flyer to post at your business or on your webite or blog!