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National recycling group meets on Guam

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Swana Pacific Basin Chapter is partnering with the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, Inc., (ASTSWMO) to host the board of directors meeting on Guam on Jan 25-27.

This is the first time that this national organization has ever traveled to Guam. 15 members have arrived in Guam.

ASTSWMO is an organization representing the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia.

Their mission is to enhance and promote effective state and territorial programs and to affect relevant national policies for waste and materials management, environmentally sustainable practices, contaminants of emerging concern, and environmental restoration.

Their primary functions are to enhance the state and federal partnerships, promote effective State programs and provide member states technical assistance, training, and forums for information exchange. These allow States to develop their program capabilities and manage their programs in the most efficient and effective manner possible. An additional feature of ASTSWMO’s non-profit approach is its relative objectivity.

During these meetings, the board members discuss Association business, which includes planning for technical training, developing guidance documents, reviewing finances, evaluating their progress on implementing the ASTSWMO 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, and discussions on emerging national policies.

In 2019, ASTSWMO elected for the first time in our then 45-year history one of our territorial members as the vice president, Conchita Taitano of Guam. Taitano is now past-president. It is a tradition that the ASTSWMO mid-year meeting is held in the home state of the past president to showcase that jurisdiction.

Taitano currently serves as the Air and Land Admin of Guam EPA. She serves as the Executive Director of the Zero Waste Working group. She is also a founding director of SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) Pacific Basin Chapter which is based in Guam and serves the Pacific Islands.

The original trip was scheduled for 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic. However, Gov. Leon Guerrero invited them back for 2022.

“As a board that has members from across the nation we all have been impressed by the commitment and determination of Guam’s leadership and people to take care of each other, to stay safe, and to get the economy back on its feet. ASTSWMO is committed to all its members and that is why we are here," said the president of ASTSWMO who is from Delaware. President Biden’s home state.

During the board meeting in Guam, they will meet with elected officials and business leaders to discuss sustainable materials management and recycling and common areas of concern. With the increase in military presence associated with the transfer of the Marines from Okinawa to Guam, they plan to tour facilities with representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense to observe and discuss the work done at their facilities.

The last day of the meeting will provide an opportunity for the board of directors to meet with the members of the Micronesian Climate Action Alliance to hear about their unique engagement strategies in some of Guam’s disadvantaged communities to stop illegal dumping and to promote recycling.

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