Illegal dumping in the heart of Tumon - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Illegal dumping in the heart of Tumon

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Illegal dumping is a problem all over the island, but KUAM News found a dump in perhaps one of the least likely places on Guam. We found a surprising answer to who was in part behind a trash heap in an area that is supposed to be one our most prized tourist attractions.

It's probably the last thing you want to see as you jog along Tumon's main road in front of Ypao Beach Park - trash, mounds of it. Ironically right in the back yard of the Guam Visitors Bureau and in the heart of the island's tourism district. KUAM News investigated and found the grass around the mini-dump has recently been cut. We found Ypao Beach Park supervisor Chris Gallandz nearby and asked him where the eyesore had come from.

"We got [sic] no way of disposing it so we put it there," he explained. When we asked if he was implying that staffers at Ypao Park are actually putting that trash up there, he confirmed so. "Cause it was left behind the picnickers that are and they left it behind," he said, as we pointed out a discarded refrigerator. "Oh, those," he noted. "Those were all piles of debris that were left up there in the corner."

Just steps off of San Vitores Road you can start to see small pieces of trash, discards and bottles, as you come around you can see bigger pieces like these tires and if you come down even further you can see a discarded refrigerator, a barbecue pit, metal paneling, plastic lawn chairs, and you can tell from this over growth that this has been here for some time now.

Gallandz said he's been seeing the trash around the area for about two years. When asked why don't you take it to the dump," he responded, "Well, you got to pay." He was then prompted with the question of whether his agency would pay to dispose of that trash, to which he said, "You gotta make our administrator speak for that."

So we did.

Acting director of Parks & Rec Pete Calvo says he is aware of the pile of waste in one of Guam's most popular parks, saying, "Yes, we have an overall problem around the parks and we are trying to address the overall problem with a full plan on how to maneuver first of all minimizing it, getting rid of all the existing debris that has been dumped on our parks illegally."

Calvo concedes that funding is and issue in disposing of the trash properly, also saying, "Well, actually overall our trash issue was not fully funded so we we're having to shift funds from lapse that we were willing to save through the fiscal year." Calvo says he arranged to have the metal goods removed and says they should be gone by Friday, and he says he is not stopping there to remedy a situation he admits is a problem.

"We have taken it a step further we are closing the ponding basin gate that every now and then gets left open and I've noticed trash being thrown in there as well," he said.

In addition to transferring funds to pay tipping fees so park staff will no longer be forced to push unwanted leftovers to the side, Calvo says he is looking into increasing fees and fines for littering and giving park employees the authority to site those found breaking the law - measures he hopes will be enough to stop the heaps like this from piling up. So the next time you stroll along Tumon's sidewalks, this won't be the view.

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