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Lawmaker proposes Anti-Littering Incentive Act

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A BILL to create an anti-littering incentive program was introduced during the House session last week.

Authored by Rep. Joel Camacho, House Bill 21-117 will provide “a reward for persons reporting violations of the Litter Control Act.”

The Commonwealth Litter Control Act was enacted in 1989.

By law, “litter” means garbage, trash, rubbish, refuse, paper containers, packing or construction materials, carcasses of dead animals, bottles, cans, debris, “or any other disposal item of whatsoever nature.”

The law also defines “littering” as “throwing, dropping, placing, depositing, sweeping, discarding or otherwise disposing of any litter on land or water, in other than appropriate storage containers or areas designated for such purpose.”

Camacho’s bill states that “there is a need to create a community-based incentive program that would promote a partnership with our government agencies who are tasked in enforcing litter violations.”

 

Rep. Joel Camacho, center, listens intently as  Rep. Donald Manglona, left, speaks during a House session last week. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

It added, “The Commonwealth Legislature finds that providing for a reward for persons reporting violations of the Litter Control Act will not only entice the community to report litter violations, but also assist our overwhelmed government agencies.”

The bill states that although “government agencies continue to work hard to enforce the Litter Control Act,” trash continues to be found on roadsides, beaches, and other areas that are visible to the public.

“There appears to be no effective way of enforcing the Commonwealth’s Litter Control Act,” the bill stated, adding that when litter control officers are present, people do not litter.

“However, the majority of time, when litter control officers are not present, littering tends to occur.”

The bill would amend Title 2, Division 3, Chapter 4 of the CNMI Law to include a new Section 3418: “Any person supplying information that leads to the assessment of a civil penalty under this act, shall be entitled to a reward of $150 The reward shall be paid from the Litter Control Program Fund Account pursuant to 2 CMC § 3416(c).”

Upon introducing the bill, Camacho said, “This littering issue has continued to be an ongoing problem. We just have to be creative in finding ways to get people to start reporting litter violations. It’s rampant, week after week, and I hope this is one way I can address that.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources for review.

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