Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Island Wide Cleanup planning under way in CNMI

The island wide cleanup that is being planned for next Friday was independently planned by three separate organizations. I wrote about organizing an island wide cleanup on The Saipan Blog for the Rotary Club back in January. In February I got an email from DEQ saying that they were planning an island wide cleanup as part of the Commonwealth Earth Day celebration. Then last month, Marianas Tourism Education Council (MTEC) contacted me to let me know that they were also planning an island wide cleanup in April. All three groups had been planning their separate cleanups for some time, it just took us a while to find each other.

When we found that we had similar goals, we immediately decided to work together (this is back in February) and started roping in other partners. Marianas Visitors Authority agreed to donate $1500 for supplies and Tan Holding, the largest employer on the island besides the government, pledged to have all their companies participate (three hotels, several restaurants, an insurance company, a newspaper, among others).

In the classic Beautify CNMI spirit, each group donates that which they are best at donating. I'm a great organizer. DEQ has government contacts and staff and trucks for hauling garbage. MVA has media people. Tan Holdings and the schools have volunteers. MTEC, MVA, and the Kramises in Washington have money. All our donations of time, talent, money, and manpower come together to make for a great event.

A big part of MTEC's involvement is giving support and financial assistance to the local schools. They donated $1000 towards the cleanup effort. They originally offered to split the $1000 equally between the schools and Beautify CNMI, but I asked them to change it to $900 for the students and only $100 for us. The way I figure it, I'm really good at scrounging up supplies and volunteers and if there is money available for students, better to support the students.

They issued a press release about their donation today.
MTEC Offers Top Schools Cleanup Incentives

Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – Personal responsibility in having a clean tourism destination is being highlighted by Marianas Tourism Education Council (MTEC), as the group announces cash incentives for Northern Marianas schools that join the Earth Month Island-wide Cleanup on April l7, 2009.

In addition to $100 donated to event organizer Beautify CNMI!, MTEC is setting aside $900 for the Public School System to be divided among the top schools with the highest percentage of student turnout for the cleanup.

“Keeping our islands beautiful is an important part of supporting tourism, and we encourage all schools, especially those with MY WAVE (Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically) clubs to have their students join the April 17 event,” said MTEC Chairman Ed Cho. “MTEC is pleased to support this year’s cleanup and help encourage a clean environment for visitors and residents, alike.”

Beautify CNMI partners Division of Environmental Quality, Rotary Club, and Marianas Visitors Authority are inviting all residents to plant a tree, paint over some graffiti or cleanup a road or a beach during the event. Cleanup over the weekend is also encouraged for people not available on April 17. Assistance with gloves, trash bags, and trash transfer are also available from Beautify CNMI!

Sign-up forms will be the basis of awarding the MTEC incentive. Forms are available from Rotary Club member and event co-organizer Angelo Villagomez at angelovillagomez@gmail.com.

A complete list of participants for the cleanup can be found at http://beautifycnmi.blogspot.com. As of today (April 7), six spots have been adopted by eight organizations, accounting for 136 volunteers.
The coordination of the cleanup is going very well. As of 8:31 AM on Wednesday, April 8, we have 11 sites adopted by 13 different groups representing 591 volunteers. We are about 1/10 of the way there with 9 days to go to continue building excitement. I'm optimistic that we'll reach our goal of 5000 volunteers!

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