Governor: Trash to be collected from every home to curb illegal dumping

'EVERYBODY'S TRASH GETS PICKED UP': To help ensure trash from Guam homes is disposed of properly, instead of ending up on beaches, parks or in jungles, the governor wants to mandate trash services for all residences. Post file photo

All residences on Guam will get their trash collected, said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

"Our direction is no rate increase and everybody's trash gets picked up. So that's the direction we're striving for," said the governor during the Islandwide Beautification Task Force meeting on Tuesday.

The governor said she's been working with the Guam Solid Waste Authority and Guam Environmental Protection Agency to look at cost, billing mechanism and enforcement of the fees.

"That's what we're discussing with Guam Solid Waste," Leon Guerrero told IBTF members and participating residents. "I remember when I was growing up in Sinajana and (the trash bill) was tied with the water."

The governor made her announcement as the task force members were discussing upcoming cleanup efforts and the issue of illegal dumping – a perennial issue on Guam. So often, local community groups, school organizations and government-sponsored cleanups will pick up trash at various locations, only for trash to find its way back to the beach, park or roadside jungle area within a week.

Director Vince Arriola of the Department of Public Works noted that not all of the island's residences have trash services.

"Solid Waste has mentioned if only 50% of the households had pickup, that's a bad number because where does the other 50% go to?" Arriola stated. Public Works is part of IBTF, which is run out of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Guam.

According to the GSWA website, each week the agency collects curbside trash from approximately 16,000 customers. The agency operates transfer stations to serve those who do not pay for curbside collection, the website states.

By comparison, the Guam Waterworks Authority served an average of 42,538 water customers in fiscal year 2019.

The governor, acknowledging the upcoming efforts to clean up the island and clear illegal dump sites, reiterated that illegal dumping is an environmental and public health issue.

"One of the things we have been discussing is if we mandated universal collection, meaning every household now had the ability to get rid of their trash in an organized manner and for government services to do that, we believe illegal dumping will be decreased," she said.

"We're looking at mandating trash service for everybody."

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