Mayors want state of emergency declared for beetles, ants - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Mayors want state of emergency declared for beetles, ants

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Mayors Council admits Guam is losing the battle with the bug but they're mounting a new offensive to contain the problem and are pushing island leaders to once and for all act on implementing a green waste management program.

"We know we're not going to beat the rhino beetle because its already spread into the jungles and the valleys," said Sinajana mayor Robert Hoffman. Guam's mayors are on the front line of the battle with the bug.  From Yigo to Merizo mayors admit invasive species like the coconut rhinoceros beetle and the little fire ants are overtaking Guam's jungles and thriving in piles of green waste that have no where to go.

Mayor Jessy Gogue added, "We've got the villages cutting vegetation we've got DPW cutting vegetation we've got GPA cutting vegetation we've got private contractors who are developing cutting vegetation 1619 on top of residential green waste who have no one else to turn to because they run in to the same problems we do."

Agana Heights Mayor Paul McDonald said, "Right now I don't think there's anyway or district authorized to get rid of green waste in any of our waste areas. So I told we told them the only other way is to burn it if nobody wants to accept it because its not working the eradication problem that we have is getting worse."

Although discussions are starting, currently Guam does not have a green waste management program. Ordot-Chalan Pago mayor Gogue says even if one is developed all stakeholders need to come to the table and funding must be to properly allocated to manage the program. "Maybe we need to take the lead on this but we need to sit down with Guam EPA, we need to sit down with the Department of Agriculture and we need to possibly sit down with the school of agriculture at UGO to address green waste management problem we're having island wide. Because right now we can talk until our blue in our face," he said.

And so far all this talk has only exacerbated the island's growing problem with invasive species because as the green waste piles up the rhino beetles and fire ants are multiplying. The mayors council says its not just their problem its everyone's. Mayor Hoffman said, "I could bet a dollar for dollar I you go to latte stone park and you overturn that green waste pile you will find rhino beetles there so while they're trying to get waste management on our side here they're also the biggest culprit Parks & Recs, Public Works. It happens. green waste is everywhere."

During their meeting today mayors approved a motion to send a letter to the governor to declare a state of emergency as a result of the rhino beetle and little fire ant infestation across Guam. In the meantime Guam EPA administrator Eric Palacios says they are going to work with all stakeholders to find an acceptable solution to the green waste problem and to stop and prevent the further spread of the invasive species.

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