SAIPAN – The public cemetery in Chalan Kanoa recently was found littered with trash, including household waste.
This has prompted the Saipan mayor's office to rent a large dumpster to collect the garbage in the area.
"People need to show respect for our cemetery," said Saipan Mayor David Apatang.
Every October, the mayor's office cleans the cemetery in preparation for All Saints' Day, but he said the church recently requested assistance to help remove trash from the area.
"It will take us a week to complete the task because we have to cut the grass and clean up everything," the mayor added.
Litterers 'don't listen to us'
A member of the Friends of Cemetery, who declined to be identified, said group members have tried everything they can to stop people from "messing up the cemetery."
"But they don't listen to us," he added. He believes that people from neighboring areas are dumping their garbage at the cemetery.
Mayor Apatang said even if trash bins are put in the area, people still "scatter their trash all over the place."
On Beach Road, he added, "we have trash bins at the pavilions but you will still see rubbish in those areas."
Cleanliness is not only the concern of his office and the Division of Parks and Recreation, but of the entire community, the mayor said.
"We need the cooperation of the people. We don't want to see trash in public areas."
The CNMI's anti-littering law was enacted in 1989. In 2016, it was "revived" and "revised" by Public Law 19-53, which is supposed to be implemented by at least eight government agencies.