Saturday, April 18, 2009
By Anthony Pellegrino
Special to the Saipan Tribune
Terry Camacho, 62, of the Office of Personnel Management, picks up trash at the Garapan Fishing Base yesterday afternoon as part of the islandwide cleanup, in observance of Environmental Awareness Month in the CNMI. Inset, Department of Public Health employees pick up trash from the Bureau of Environmental Health office on Navy Hill to Horiguchi Building in Garapan and back. (Haidee V. Eugenio)
Close to 4,000 young and adults picked up tons of trash along Saipan's major roads, beaches, parks, dive sites and other tourist spots yesterday as part of the islandwide cleanup highlighting the observance of Environmental Awareness Month.
“I hope this day will make a difference for the environment and our children,” said 62-year-old Terry Camacho of the Office of Personnel Management. “I hope that next time somebody throws trash anywhere, he would think twice and think about those who are cleaning up the environment.”
Camacho was among the OPM employees and their families who picked up trash at the Garapan Fishing Base starting at 2:30pm yesterday.
Just a few meters from her was 4-year-old Ila Seman, the youngest of the OPM employees' family members to take part in the activity.
“Please do not throw your trash anywhere,” Joannie Laniyo, 7, said as she tagged along with her mother, OPM employee Benita Seman, for the cleanup.
From 7am to 4:30pm, thousands of volunteers from the private sector and the local and federal government cleaned Saipan of litter-from cigarette butts, plastic bottles, soda and beer cans, plastic bags to soiled baby diapers.
Michael Lizama, 12, a seventh grader at Hopwood Junior High School, said most of what they picked up on campus and at the beach were cigarette butts and plastic bottles. His classmate, Alicia Lloren, 12, said she and her classmates are proud to be part of making their campus cleaner.
Hopwood Junior High School had the most number of cleanup participants at 1,113.
TJ Litulumar of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration joined eight other TSA employees in picking up trash at the beach side fronting the Quarter Master Road intersection all the way to the 13 Fishermen Monument and back.
“We're supposed to clean up only from 9am to 11am but it's now around 12,” said Litulumar, adding that this is part of TSA's community outreach programs.
Mariana Coats and Jeremy T. Sasamoto of the Department of Public Health said they didn't mind the heat and dust to be able to help clean up Saipan. DPH employees picked up trash from Navy Hill to Horiguchi Building and back, starting at 2:30pm.
“Many of what we picked up were beer cans and plastic bottles. I hope people will stop littering,” said Sasamoto.
Aya Matsumoto, vice president of Pacific Eagle Enterprises, said they started cleaning up the area around the 13 Fishermen's Monument on Beach Road at 9:30am.
“We also planted a flame tree. We'd like to show tourists that Saipan is clean and beautiful. We'd like tourists to come back to the island again,” she said.
The cleanup will continue today. Joleen Torres, from the Committee to Elect Juan “Pan” Guerrero and Joe Camacho, said they expect 45 volunteers to clean up Beach Road this morning.
Joe Kaipat of the Division of Environmental Quality and co-chair of the islandwide cleanup, said 55 volunteer groups including public and private schools, government agencies and private businesses took part in the cleanup of 48 sites around Saipan.
The islandwide cleanup is cosponsored by Beautify CNMI, the Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club of Saipan, Marianas Visitors Authority and the Marianas Tourism Education Council.