One man’s lonely war against trash

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For months, Anthony Mendiola, a concerned Dededo resident, has been visiting the three parks in Liguan armed with a box of trash bags and a rake to pick up the bottles, beer cans, and food containers thrown around the property from the night before.

Littering has been a longstanding issue on the island, but one man has made it his goal to keep our island clean.

Liguan Terrace Park is a place where people used to hang out and play tennis, but for some, it has become an illegal dumping site.

For months, Anthony Mendiola, a concerned Dededo resident, has been visiting the three parks in Liguan armed with a box of trash bags and a rake to pick up the bottles, beer cans, and food containers thrown around the property from the night before.

Since the start of the school year, Mendiola has been focusing most of his efforts on Liguan Terrace Park #2, which has seen significant dumping in the form of discarded mattresses, white goods, and broken furniture.

“It’s just kinda disappointing to come out here every day to see trash that still piles up. I mean…after hard work and everything like that. So, I’m just trying to reach out to everybody about this trash that’s just polluting the area itself,” Mendiola said.

Mendiola says that some of the people contributing to the issue are those who choose to drink alcohol or hang out at the park during nighttime, which are hours when monitoring the park is difficult.

Nic Lee, the public information officer of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, says that illegal dumping is a widespread and longstanding issue and is prevalent throughout the northern areas of the island.

He adds that illegally dumped waste could promote the breeding of mosquitoes, become hosts to rodents, or pose a potential fire hazard.

“Everybody on island needs to be responsible about managing their solid waste properly. There’s no excuse for you to go into a jungle or into a river or stream. There’s just no good reason for it,” Lee said.

According to a statement from Richard Ybanez, the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, the agency has been in frequent contact with Mendiola and has assisted him with giving him supplies and assessing the parks’ condition.

Ybanez says that he is appreciative of Mendiola’s efforts and will be working with the police department to deter people from dumping and drinking at the park facilities.

In turn, Mendiola encourages the public to help him address the dumping at the parks in Liguan to make these parks safe for not just the children in the area, but the community as a whole.

“Hey, this is our island. You come here. We stay here. We need to take care of this island because it’s just getting to be too much with all this trash all around,” he said.

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