Waste and Air Quality Management


Litter Control

The Litter Control Branch in DEQ enforces the Litter Control Act, conduct public education and outreach, and train personnel at other government agencies to be Litter Control Apprehending Officers.

Other government agencies who have litter control apprehending officers:

  • Mayor's Office
  • Department of Public Works
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Department of Public Health and Environmental Services
  • Division of Fish and Wildlife
  • Coastal Resources Management
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • Marianas Visitors Authority


The Commonwealth Litter Control Act of 1989 defines littering as throwing, dropping, placing, depositing, sweeping, discarding, abandoning, or otherwise disposing of any litter on land or water in other than appropriate litter containers or areas designated for such purpose. Litter means garbage, trash, rubbish, refuse, carcasses, construction materials, debris, or any other disposable item of whatever nature. A person found guilty of littering may be fined up to $500! Litterbugs may also be ordered to remove the litter, or pay for its removal out of their own pockets.

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. Littering and Illegal dumping can cause many problems to the community and environment:

  • Littering on streets, in parks, and on beaches can end up into the ocean and in our storm water systems, where it can cause harm to wildlife or contaminate our waters. Plastic litter can choke or suffocate birds and marine life.
  • Litter is a threat to public health as well as public safety by attracting rats, mosquitoes, flies, and other disease carrying animals and insects, and broken glass and other sharp objects may injure the people in the community.
  • Litter ruins the beauty of our island, by negatively affecting our it’s image.
  • Litter sends out a message that no one cares about our island and that littering is acceptable.
  • Litter can be a fire hazard by releasing toxic fumes into the environment.
  • Removing litter from our environment costs everyone money.

A person found guilty of littering (improper garbage disposal) may be fined up to $500! Litterbugs may also be ordered to remove the litter, or pay for its removal out of their own pockets.

Disposal of trash

Materials that require disposal should be taken to the Marpi Sanitary Landfill or the Puerto Rico Transfer Station. A landfill is an area that is engineered to contain waste, with safeguards such as liners to ensure that groundwater is not contaminated.

Some Facts on Trash

The different types of trash generated by us takes time to biodegrade before returning back to the earth, for example:

  • Cardboard: 2 weeks
  • Newspaper: 6 weeks
  • Apple Core: 2 months
  • Plywood: 1-3 years
  • Cigarette Butts: 5-15 years
  • Tin Cans: 50 years
  • Styrofoam: 50 years
  • Aluminum Cans: 200 years
  • 6-pack Rings: 400 years
  • Plastics: 450 years
  • Glass: undetermined

Saipan has a landfill where the community may dispose of their trash also a transfer staion where the community can practice recycling of materials:

Marpi Landfill(DPW)
Lower Base Refuse Transfer Station (DPW)
Point of Contact: Blas Mafnas, Administrative Officer (670) 322-2745

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