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EPA to honor Beautify CNMI! as a Pacific environmental hero

Release Date: 04/16/2007
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(04/16/07) SAN FRANCISCO – During the agency’s ninth annual Environmental Awards Ceremony in San Francisco today, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri will recognize the Beautify CNMI! organization for its efforts to protect and preserve the CNMI environment in 2006.

“These organizations have applied creativity, teamwork and leadership in addressing many of the Pacific’s most sensitive and complex environmental challenges,” Nastri said. “Thanks to their efforts, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come. The winners set an example for all of us to follow.”

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government agencies united to enhance the CNMI’s natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. Their efforts have resulted in more than 1,776 native trees and 24 flame trees, the CNMI's state tree being planted. Additional native trees continue to be planted by students at schools, residents on their property and business owners.

The group organized the removal of at least 50,000 lbs of garbage from public properties, most of which are historical or tourist sites. One of the largest efforts resulted in more than 3,200 volunteers disposing of over 10,000 lbs of trash. Isley Field was cleaned by 30 students from Saipan Southern High School, disposing of 20,000 lbs of trash, mostly refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves, and also included used diapers, butane canisters, and other assorted household garbage.

Beautify CNMI! initiated recycling efforts at the, Liberation Day Festival and Micronesian Games. More than 5,000 lbs of plastic bottles and aluminum cans were recycled at these events. A recycling contest was held for America Recycles Day with twenty-four schools recycling more than 26,000 lbs of recyclable items. To date, more than 13 community groups have officially adopted a beach and 6 organizations have adopted a roadway, and in October, more than 40 litter control officers were certified on Saipan and Tinian.

The group helped generated greater environmental awareness by submitting news stories of recent and upcoming events for the local newspapers and TV channel to publicize. Their website continues to promote environmental stewardship at home, school, office, etc. The coalition continues to recognize environmental heroes, individuals that have contributed in small or big ways to the overall mission in fostering community pride.

The EPA Region 9 Environmental Awards program acknowledges commitment and significant contributions to the environment in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Pacific Islands and tribal lands. Thirty nine groups and individuals were selected from more than 160 nominees received this year from businesses, media, local, state and federal government officials, tribes, environmental organizations and citizen activists.

See the Environmental Awards Web site for all of the winners: http://www.epa.gov/region09/awards/index.html

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