Waste and Air Quality Management


Solid Waste

Improper disposal of solid waste results in illegal dumping. Illegal dumping can disrupt natural processes on land and in the water. Dumping can interfere with proper drainage of runoff. Currently, illegal dumping is rampant in the CNMI, with over 5 popular sites on Saipan. DEQ’s Solid Waste Management Officers inspect:

  • Private waste haulers
  • Recycling Facilities
  • Lower Base Refuse Transfer Station
  • Marpi Landfill

on a regular basis to ensure compliance with solid waste regulations.

Solid waste is large amounts of trash or garbage, including everyday discarded items such as office paper, packaging material, food scraps, clothing, furniture, yard waste, newspapers, appliances, and bottles.

There are 2 Types of Solid Waste:

  1. General Solid Waste
    • Garbage (e.g. milk cartons and coffee)
    • Refuse (e.g. metal scrap, and empty containers)
    • Sludges from waste treatment plants
  2. Municipal Solid Waste
    • Durable goods (e.g. appliance, tires, batteries)
    • Nondurable goods (e.g. newspaper, books, and magazines)
    • Containers and packing, food waste, yard trimmings, and various organic waste from residential, commercial, and factories.

Managing Solid Waste

The CNMI has the following options of disposing of solid wastes:

  1. LANDFILL – Landfills are engineered areas where waste is placed into the land. Landfills usually have liner systems and other safeguards to prevent groundwater contamination. There is one landfill on the island of Saipan, located in Marpi. Rota and Tinian
  2. RECYCLE – Recycling is the system of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing old material into usable raw materials. Currently items such as paper, glass, plastic, and metals are currently recycled at 8 centers on the island of Saipan and 1 center on the island of Tinian. There are currently no recycling facilities on the island of Rota that is permitted under DEQ at this point in time.

Residents and industries utilize the services of private waste collectors for a nominal fee. Items are then deposited to the landfill or are recycled.

Open dumping/Illegal dumping

DEQ enforcement officers frequently encounter open dumps in the CNMI. Open dumps are areas in which a collection of garbage is ‘dumped.’ Open dumps are illegal and are susceptible to burning when exposed to elements, vectors or scavengers. Open dumps on private or public lands may result in the issuance of an Administrative Order and may be assessed a civil penalty of a maximum of $25,000 per violation. Illegal dumping is disposal of large amounts of waste in an unpermitted area.

Reporting Illegal Dumping can be done by contacting:

  • DEQ on weekdays at 664-8500/8501
  • EMO on nights and weekends at 322-8002

When reporting illegal dumping or open dumps, please give the following information:

  • Time
  • Location
  • Descrpition of waste
  • Name of responsible party (if known)
  • Name (optional)
  • Contact number (in case more information is needed)

Some links related to this topic: Saipan Integrated Waste Management System Illegal Dumping Article from May 4, 2004 Solid Waste Article from June 15, 2005 Saipan's Solid Waste Management System Solid Waste Article 2006 Info on the Tinian Landfill