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Sanitoa supportive of recycling program, but expresses related health concerns

reporters@samoanews.com

House Representative Larry Sanitoa has written a letter to the CEO of the American Samoa Power Authority Utu Abe Malae voicing his concern about potential health hazards posed by the many recyclables being delivered to ASPA’s Tafuna compound for the recycling program.

Sanitoa applauds the program and wrote, “The scrap metal and recycling program ASPA launched in July was an outstanding initiative to promote cleaning up scrap metal and at the same time promote support of local farmers with the rewards given in return for turning in recyclables. In appreciating the success of the program, I publicly commended the late Afonotele Petelo Lafaele and ASPA for creating an incentive that clearly resulted in cleaner yards and for supporting our local farmers.”

Sanitoa said he made the request with ASPA to consider making the recycling program permanent but the semi-autonomous agency has since changed the program by offering vouchers to help pay down utility bills.

“Although I am still very supportive of the recycling program, I would like to bring to your attention some of the health and hazardous concerns expressed by residents living near the ASPA compound in Tafuna,” Sanitoa wrote.

(Sanitoa is currently one of the two lawmakers in the House of Representatives for Tualauta District, where the ASPA Tafuna compound is located).

“These same concerns were also expressed to me by some of the ASPA management team,” Sanitoa continued. “Given the recent loads of scrap metal and recycling materials dropped off at the ASPA Tafuna compound, the concerns are whether there is enough space at the compound to accommodate the volume of recyclable waste being collected.”

“Is there a method in place to confirm the recyclables collected are free of any toxic or health hazard materials?” he asked. “In addition to these concerns, there have also been reports of increased pests and rodents (i.e. rats, cockroaches, flies, etc.) within some of the ASPA offices as well as the nearby residences.”

Sanitoa asked Utu, “In regards to ASPA’s FY 2012/2013 budget, did ASPA set aside additional funding for the recycling program?” The Tualauta lawmaker said this is important to know, as the Fono will be reviewing the rest of FY 2012- 13 ASPA budget soon.

Sanitoa congratulated Utu on his appointment as executive director for ASPA and thanked him for “immediately working on the Governor’s mandate to improve ASPA’s overall operations.”

Sanitoa has been very critical and outspoken about the hardship placed on all residents with the recent ASPA rate increases that were implemented, despite the current poor economic state of the territory.

Nevertheless, he wrote, “I have also been very supportive of the many good projects that ASPA implements that benefit our community.“

Sanitoa said that as the CEO of ASPA, Utu has quite a challenging task to fulfill but he is certain that Utu’s efforts will produce positive results in due time.

In addition to his concerns about the recycling program, Sanitoa mentioned in his letter that he submitted an emergency request for streetlights in Ili’ili two months ago and to date, his request is still pending. He said he called ASPA last week to follow up on the status of his request and was told that there were still no streetlight supplies as ASPA is still waiting for a shipment.

“This particular area in Iliili needing lights is a very popular spot for many young people,” Sanitoa wrote. “As reported by nearby residents and the village mayor, the youth congregate in the evenings with their friends at this area and often the groups end up fighting and/or carry on all sorts of other bad activities as the area is very dark and hard to monitor.”

Copies of Sanitoa’s letter were forwarded to Governor Lolo Moliga, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, Fonoti Perelini Perelini of the ASPA Board, Tualauta Senators Magalei Logovii and Letuligasenoa Soli, Chairman of the House Committee on ASPA Rep. Puletu Koko, and Tualauta Rep. Florence Vaili Saulo.



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