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EPA cracking down on illegal dumps

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While the issue of illegal dumping continues to plague our community, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency is stepping-up efforts, using a variety of means to investigate these crimes and hold violators accountable. According to Guam EPA director Eric Palacios, his agency continues to battle illegal dumping, going as far as installing surveillance cameras at illegal dump sites around the island.

"It has been effective as a deterrent area that were previously identified as illegal dumps and so we're going to build upon that progress. And we're hoping to maybe in the next year purchase more video cameras so we can set it up at more areas throughout the island," said Palacios. But for some places, like the area leading into Two Lovers Point, where the agency has decided against installing the cameras, dumping is a continual problem," he added.

"It is on our radar - we are trying our best to monitor the area, unfortunately it's not conducive to installing cameras. Obviously, illegal dumping anywhere in Guam is not good, but in such a high traffic tourist area I mean it's doubly bad because you're not just affecting Guam EPA and our limited resources, you're really impacting the entire island whether it's government or the private sector or just the residents of Guam because that poses as a detriment to our economy."

Earlier this week, an illegal dump site near the Pago Bay area caught on fire. Palacios says luckily the burnt goods consisted of municipal household waste rather than food waste, as the latter would have more harmful environmental impacts. The Guam Fire Department was able to extinguish the deep seeded fire after two days. "There is currently an investigation ongoing as to who the property owner is, we're working with the immediate residents in that area to set up a camera. Thankfully, one of the private residents is willing to have us install the camera on their property," he said.

Palacios says the Guam EPA will continue to monitor these areas, using a combination of surveillance cameras, spot checks, and shuffling employee schedules to include weekends and evenings. He reminds the public that illegal dumping is a crime and can have serious consequences, warning, "They could be fined up to $1,000 per day per violation, and so those fines quickly add up."

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