Legislation that strengthens the Island Beautification Task Force is seen as very timely in light of the dengue outbreak on Guam.
Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano) introduced Bill 150-35 which brings together agency stakeholders to create long-term plans on preventing illegal waste disposal. The bill also seeks to prevent the destruction of public facilities and adds MCOG representation to the task force to improve beautification efforts at the village level.
“With this broader representation and responsibility, the task force can implement many types of programs to provide for a more effective island beautification policy. This would include spreading awareness to encourage change in behaviors through the creation of a mascot and other innovations, examining whether the size requirements of dumpsters is appropriate given our modern lifestyles, encouraging recycling, and more. I look forward to the good work they will do,” the senator said.
Nic Lee, the spokesman of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, mentioned the timely discussion of the proposed legislation during a public hearing Tuesday morning.
“Now we are also upon this dengue issue where we are encouraging the public to clean up around their homes and their businesses. We know that illegal dumpsites have cumulative impacts and we often spoke about vector control and some of these sites now serve as breeding sites. So I think that this is coming at an opportune time to get awareness out,” Lee said.
Lee also said manpower continues to be one of the challenges faced by the task force in accomplishing its responsibilities. He said another legislation – Bill 148-35 – could provide a solution to this problem since the measure seeks to allow DOC inmates to get work credit for assisting with labor-intensive beautification projects.
“Depending on scheduling conflicts and what have you, the manpower is not there. And I think that it is estimated that over $100 a day to care for these inmates. But that can be considered an untapped resource that we should be looking at. And it would go great with our ability to further assist the IBTF,” Lee said.