Recycling program on hold, partly from health issues
Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority Utu Abe Malae has responded to concerns voiced by Tualauta Rep. Larry Sanitoa in a letter the faipule sent last week addressing concerns from Tualauta county residents about the possible health hazards posed by the ASPA recycling program.
"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.” Sanitoa said.
"Is there a method in place to confirm the recyclables collected are free of any toxic or health hazard materials?" he asked.
According to Sanitoa, there have been reports of increased pests and rodents (i.e. rats, cockroaches, flies, etc.) within some of the ASPA offices, as well as nearby residences.
In response, Utu said, "Yes, that is a definite concern of ours and is one of the reasons we suspended the program until we can compact and ship out the materials."
The ASPA recycling program is currently on hold until further notice.
Utu added that ASPA is looking at opening up two other locations, in addition to the ASPA compound in Tafuna, for a total of three places to receive the recyclables.
Utu said ASPA only accepts clean recyclables, meaning the items must be free of food and dirt.
In response to Sanitoa's questions as to whether ASPA set aside additional funding for the recycling program in their FY 2012/2013 budget, Utu responded that the recyclables program is part of the solid waste operation, even if it isn't in that division's budget. He explained, "There are revenues from the sale of materials shipped to New Zealand. The costs not covered by those revenues are offset by the extended life of the sanitary landfill at Futiga."
(The Senate and House are scheduled to meet this morning to discuss an administration proposal seeking $86.59 million to continue the fiscal year 2013 funding for the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA), whose current budget expires at the end of this month. ASPA, whose previous chief executive officer, Andra Samoa and board had maintained that it’s ASPA’s board of directors who give the final approval for their annual budget, had proposed $115.45 for FY 2013 but the Fono approved only the first four months of the fiscal year.)
In addition to the recycling program, Sanitoa also asked Utu to look into his emergency request for streetlights for a poorly lit area in Iliili, known to be a popular spot for youth to congregate and engage in other activities that usually result in fights.
According to Sanitoa, he was told by ASPA that there is a shortage of streetlights and they are awaiting a shipment of supplies. Utu responded by saying that "other than for public safety, it is better to minimize the number of streetlights because ASG cannot afford to pay for the energy costs." He concluded, "That is why we must go to more efficient lamps than the high pressure sodium (HPS) ones - such as LEDs."
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