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Please stop using Iliili as dumping ground

Ili’ili village mayor Tautua Tapualii Tupua would like the community to know that Iliili is not the dumping ground for trash and scrap metal such as old car parts, refrigerators and broken down washing machines. Neither is the nearby village of Vaitogi, he said, and called on the community to refrain from using Ili’ili roads as trash dumps. 

Tautua made the urgent call last Friday when he was joined in a news conference with Tualauta faipule Larry Sanitoa, Petelo Lafaele of the American Samoa Power Authority and Tumau Lokeni Iese of American Samoa Environmental Project Agency.

They joined forces to remind the community not to dump trash and scrap metal along the Ili’ili road, or any other place on island that is not designated for trash.

The main focus of the news conference, and the area of concern, are the roadside areas running alongside the Ili’ili Golf Course fence, where they are always littered with scrap metal and trash.

Tautua told the news media that it was just last week that Ili’ili completed another clean up along the road besides the golf course, but he has already found new trash being dumped there. He suspects most of the trash is from outsiders — those not living in the village.

Iese said that ASEPA’s concern with improperly disposed scrap metal is the protection of underground drinking water, and is the reason the community is being urged to properly dispose of this type of trash. She also said that individuals caught dumping scrap metal along the road will be cited in accordance with local law.

Lafaele pointed out that in years past, the community was asked by ASPA to leave their scrap metal along the road side for collection, but that is no longer the case — however, people appear to continue this practice.

He urged the community to please contact ASPA if anyone has scrap metal to get rid off, instead of dumping it along the road. ASPA can be contacted at 699-1234, or their solid waste unit can be reached at 699-4619 to arrange for pick up of scrap metal.

Samoa News notes there is no ASPA fee for the scrap metal pick up. However, according to an ASPA solid waste unit employee, they do encourage residents to separate plastics, tires, bulky material, i.e. furniture, mattresses from the scrap metal trash, and take these items directly to the landfill in Futiga. The scrap metal trash can be picked up directly (don’t dump on the roadside) by ASPA — by calling the solid waste unit; but they are down to one truck at the moment, and their priority is on their daily scheduled trash pick ups.

Sanitoa said he believes that the problem stems from our own people being irresponsible and dumping their scrap metal where it’s convenient for them. He said that even household trash is being dumped next to the golf course, yet there are trash bins close by.

“The simple solution is for everyone to be more responsible and take the trash where it should be dumped,” he said.

In separate comments to Samoa News, Sanitoa said that since last year, he and some of his colleagues in the Fono “have been seriously looking at amending our current ambiguous and complicated Litter Law.”

At present, the litter statute has Public Health, ASEPA, DPS and ASPA as agencies responsible for prohibition and enforcement. “Unfortunately there is no clear designated lead agency taking ownership of this tremendous task.”

He said a bill submitted to the Fono by the Administration this year clearly defines ASEPA as the department that will have overall statutory jurisdiction of the duties and responsibilities of government agencies and the community, to prevent litter and enforce the litter laws.

“I fully support this legislation with an amendment that will empower and give more statutory responsibility and enforcement to our village mayors and the village council, as I believe they are better equipped and knowledgeable on how best to address this littering problem within their respective villages, he said.

“We need to revisit our ‘Take Pride’ campaign and I urge all villages to take the lead, to keep their villages clean and maintain the beautification efforts as they did during the 10th Festival of the Pacific Arts.” he added.