Work progressing on universal trash collection

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

Work is progressing on the plan to mandate universal trash collection, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said on Monday.

According to the governor, she has been working closely with the Guam Solid Waste Authority and the Guam Waterworks Authority to implement the plan.

“We’re really analyzing what it would mean in terms of revenues and what it would mean in terms of costs. But certainly, the decision to do universal collection has also been decided,” Leon Guerrero said during a news conference after the Earth Day proclamation.

She added that she has already mentioned the plan to Sen. Sabina Perez who heads the legislative environment committee.

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“And she’s very supportive of this as we are all in agreement that if we do have universal collection of trash for everyone on the island, our illegal dumping will be decreased, we can better control our waste, and we can better control our land in terms of health, public health, sanitation and so forth,” Leon Guerrero said.

For her part, Senator Perez said they would have to determine if subsidies would be needed for the universal trash collection.

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“That is something that needs to be worked out a little bit more. But I do have a bill already in place. It’s supposed to mandate collections from landlords. Currently, in law, owners of property or landlords with units of over five or more, are required to have trash collections. But there’s a gap for those that have units of less than five. And so that’s what my bill would do,” Perez said.

She added that her bill is more like a phased-in approach that is a step towards universal collections. “But it’s more so, requiring the landlords to provide trash pickups,” the senator said.

Senator Tony Ada, who was also present during the proclamation ceremony, said he is willing to work with the governor and the lieutenant governor and look at all avenues to keep the island clean.

“I’m willing to look at all options on the table and see what we can do to work collectively for the greater good of our island,” Ada said.

According to the governor, she doesn’t have a specific date yet for implementation of the universal trash policy because they are still working out the details.

“But once we do have more final information, I certainly will be working with the senators because it does need legislation,” the governor said.