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Cleaning and greening Guam

Yes&Know By Aline Yamashita

As you drive around Guam, I am sure you have noticed sprouting projects. Along Route 8, a super huge building is coming to fruition. Not sure what it is but it has a lot of doors and windows. There seem to be a lot of parking spaces, too. That is a good thing.

Parking is a guaranteed challenge on our island. Added to limited parking is the dare to get out of your vehicle without hitting the car next to you.

When Families First! was in legislative office, we succeeded in passing a measure that would have increased parking slots by six inches. It is difficult climbing out of cars with walkers or strollers. Graceful exits just do not happen.

Then Gov. Eddie Calvo vetoed the measure. I was not savvy enough to get the veto overridden.

Back to buildings. In Tamuning, Don Don Donki is coming to life. It is touted to be the world’s largest Japanese retail store. Guam gets these distinguishing landmarks every so often.


Remember when we had the largest McDonald’s? I am not sure that is a real badge of honor, but it was true.

There are big structures being built in Barrigada. I cannot see signs, so I do not know what they are.

As construction is booming here, it is hoped that building maintenance is a part of the plan.

Sitting in traffic, I noticed how clean and attractive Alupang Beach Tower is. It gleams and its aqua trimming is clean. It is an attractive building. Sadly, clean buildings around our island are rare.

The black stuff grows quickly. Owners allow it to become a part of the structure.

I imagine building maintenance would be a good business, but I figure businesses do not have the budget for it. Why else would they allow their investments to deteriorate? Then, we become accustomed to it and let it slide. But we should not. We should reflect cleanliness and pride in our properties.

Our humidity is a sure recipe for algae to flourish in.

It is hoped that all the new buildings are following the Accessibility with Disabilities Act. That means having ramps that are supportive. Elevators, too.

Gone should be the days when people in wheelchairs have to access an event through the service elevator in the kitchen.


There was a time when the Westin was the only Guam hotel that had elevator service for those of us with disabilities. That was a major reason events such as meetings or celebrations were held there. They got our business because they respected us.

As more concrete is growing, it would be great if green spaces multiplied just as quickly. We need parks and gardens where kids can run and enjoy themselves. We need these living places where the manamko can share their stories and sing their songs. We need our flowers to reach the heavens with their scents and beauty.

But with green spaces, too, maintenance is a problem. Weeds grow like weeds. I think getting student clubs to sponsor different spaces would be a sure way to nurture responsibility for our land. The students can earn credits for cleaning and maintaining grounds. They can welcome visitors. Tourists are always looking for eco-tourism opportunities throughout the island.

Teachers can turn these areas into huge learning opportunities, particularly in science and language arts. Caring for the earth reaps great returns. Also, poetry, songs, and stories can be created.

If we can get more people to invest their time in these spots, these spots will become healthier and happier. The people will, too.

This is important for our growing families. Young ones should take delight in safe, clean places. Adolescents should enjoy walking in these grounds as they make memories. Seniors should have such treasured places to gather and enjoy their time.

Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32 Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at

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