Illegal dumping, littering, and enforcement tackled in public hearing for Bill 116

Illegal dumping has long been an issue for the island community. (PNC file photo)

The Legislature held a hearing Thursday for Bill 116-36, which, if passed would increase the enforcement capability of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the mayors, and other agencies to address illegal dumping

Senator Sabina Perez, who introduced the bill, says the legislation proposes to empower a wider set of apprehending officers.

Should the bill pass, those designated from DPR, Department of Agriculture, Guam EPA, Public Health, and DPW as well as village mayors, vice mayors, and any GPD peace officer as well as GFD and Airport and Port of Guam Police would be able to serve notices of violations to those who are breaking illegal dumping laws.

The measure also increases littering fines. Violators convicted of littering could pay anywhere from $500 to $1000.

The measure also proposes changes to the Litter Control Revolving Fund, allowing the purchase of supplies and equipment to assist with enforcement of the law and also allowing more funds to support the efforts of these apprehending officers.

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While the bill received generally favorable testimony from government agencies, Moñeka De Oro, a member of the Micronesia Climate Change Alliance, says that efforts should be balanced with awareness-raising activities.

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The Mayors’ Council of Guam also provided supportive testimony for Bill 116. Piti Mayor Jesse Alig — the president of the council — acknowledged the ongoing struggle of the mayors in dealing with illegal dumping at the villages.