Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zaldy on Littering

Last Friday Zaldy Dandan wrote an editorial about littering.
Useless laws

EARLY this week, a high school sophomore reminded the community about the existence of a law older than her — the Commonwealth Litter Control Act of 1989, or P.L. 6-37, which sets a $200 to $500 fine for littering and requires the following agencies to employ litter control officers: the Division of Environmental Quality, the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Public Health, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Coastal Resources Management Office, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Marianas Visitors Authority.

Like many CNMI laws, P.L. 6-37 has never been enforced.

More than two years ago, 20 litter control officers were certified, but DEQ, which is supposed to administer to program, now says that these employees cannot perform their tasks because they have other full-time jobs.

Litter control officers can issue citations and report violations whenever they witness people dumping trash in public premises. But littering happens either at night or on weekends — when litter control officers have not yet reported for work or are already off.

So what’s the point of certifying them if they can’t do their job? Why pass a law that no one wants to enforce?

The solution is simple. Everyone knows where and when littering happens. Why not adjust the hours of the litter control officers so they can actually perform their tasks? Some have noted that the fine, $200 to $500, is too high to begin with. Well then, amend the law and adjust the fine: for first offense $50, second offense $100, etc.

This government should stop making a mockery of its own laws and enforce them for once.
I disagree with him on lowering the fine. Our litter fine is already much lower than it is in the mainland United States and people know that they aren't supposed to litter.

You know how many times people have told me that they've seen people litter and then utter something like, "Beautify CNMI will pick it up for me?"

Fine them. Fine them. Fine them. Fine them.

We've been picking up after these assholes for three years. If you can't afford to pay the fine, then you can't afford to break the law. If anything, the fine should be increased.


Anonymous said...

they should deputize you to go out and fine those violators.

g00$e said...

I confront litterers all the time. Of course I'm selective, generally avoiding liquored up males unless I'm in the company of other liquored up males. It's gotten exciting a few times, but in 12 years I've never backed down and only been beat up once.

In Hawaii in the 60's each surf spot had its local 'Crew' who ensured that locals got their share of waves, protected local girls from 'grunts' and 'necks', guarded against car and beach thieves, and vigorously beat litterers regardless of race, color or creed.

That tradition is distinctly missing here.